06/10/2015 02:36 EDT | Updated 06/10/2016 05:59 EDT

Gordie Howe given "little boost' from second stem cell treatment, son reports

TORONTO - Gordie Howe's son Mark says his father is doing well after receiving a second experimental stem cell transplant this week.

The 87-year-old hockey legend was treated Monday at the same Mexican clinic where he underwent an initial injection of stem cells in his spine in December, following a debilitating stroke last October.

Mark says his brother Murray, who's a doctor, took Howe to the Tijuana clinic, where their dad got "a little boost" from the therapy.

Mark says they are flying today to Toledo, Ohio, where Howe will stay with Murray and his wife after having lived with his daughter Cathy Purnell in Lubbock,Texas.

After the first treatment, the family called Howe's improvement "miraculous." He was able to walk again and his ability to speak improved.

The October stroke — his second — had left the former NHL great without the use of his right arm and leg and had caused his speech to slur.

Howe also had difficulty swallowing and shed 35 pounds. He had been admitted to hospital and was unresponsive when the family decided to pursue the unproven stem cell therapy, which is not approved in Canada or the U.S.

"The way we approach it as a family is every day that we've had Dad, ever since his first treatment, has basically just been a bonus," Mark said from New Jersey, where he lives. "So we're just trying to enjoy the moments."

Howe also has a form of dementia, and Mark says that like anybody's who is aging, his father has "some good days and some not so good days."

Living with Murray will make it easier for Howe's family members and friends from his years as a Detroit Red Wing to visit, which should help his father adjust to his new home, he said.

"With his dementia, sometimes he gets a little disoriented. So the more familiar faces he has around, the easier the transition is."


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