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This 'Cinderella' Has It All--and Takes It in Stride

May 27, 1987|ANN HEROLD

--There are times now that Tina Murphey pinches herself just to make sure it's real. Murphey, a 27-year-old cerebral palsy victim, has been unable to walk since birth. In fact, she couldn't even wiggle her feet. But ever since doctors implanted electrodes in her spine, she has not only been able to flex her toes, she can walk--up to a whole four minutes at last count. "I kind of feel like Cinderella. I keep waiting for someone to tell me the clock's going to strike 12 and I'm going home," said Murphey, who lives in Gillette, Wyo. The electrodes now in Murphey's spine work by stimulating previously blocked nerve impulses between her brain and legs. She controls the level of stimulation with a transmitter, but because of her previous inactivity it will take her a while to find her sea legs, so to speak. "Before, I couldn't stand up at all," she explained. "It's going to take some time to find how to balance and not fall over."

--After playing taps for 10,354 military funerals, Army Staff Sgt. Duane Finch says he is just tapped out. Not only are the funerals emotionally draining, but they can be a physical workout as well, Finch says. "You have to play it in any kind of temperature," he said. "I had to go up to Fairbanks, Alaska, once to play and it was 38 below, with a wind-chill factor of 75 below." The saddest funerals, he says, were the ones "when nobody (was) there. Just the coffin. I hate doing those." Finch, who is studying for a degree in business retail management at El Paso Community College, said among his most memorable stints was a memorial service in Korea for Army Gen. Omar Bradley in 1981. The 39-year-old bugler will retire from the Army on July 1, and from then on, he says, he will just be blowing his own horn.

--By the time they had reached the 100th hour of their marathon match, the two tennis buffs were sounding like a pair of drunken sailors. Bill Victor, tennis coach at the University of Nevada-Reno, said he could have sworn the balls had halos. And Mark Humes, who coaches at Reno High School, said he kept seeing bumps in the court's white boundary lines. But the pair persisted, playing tennis continuously for 120 hours, nine minutes to set a mark in the Guinness Book of World Records. Humes had already made it into the Guinness book in 1983 with a 116-hour tennis-playing marathon, but that record was broken two years ago in Lafayette, La., when Mark and Jim Pinchoff added an hour to his time.

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