Roseville restaurant hopes to help recently paralyzed employee

‘I can’t move my body’ | After breakdancing at his friend’s house, 25-year-old Chris Bantay collapsed.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When Chris Baytay wasn’t working at Pieology in Roseville or going to classes to pursue a career in healthcare, he was creating music or dancing. But on December 14th, after breakdancing at a friend’s house, he collapsed at a grocery store.

“My husband gets a call from Chris and he’s like, ‘I can’t move my body,'” Chris’s sister Breanna Wallace explained. “He was like, ‘can you come pick me up? I’m scared.'”

Wallace said her husband had to pick her brother up to get him into the car. Bantay had lost control of his legs. 

“When I got in the ER, I was sloped over in a chair and was thinking like, ‘oh my breathing’s going to go next, I don’t know what’s going to happen from here,”‘ Bantay explained.  

Bantay learned he had had a stroke in his spinal cord. While he said doctors weren’t sure, it could have been caused when Bantay did a breakdance move called a “flare.” 

Now paralyzed from the neck down, Bantay had been in the hospital for two months, but he said he was trying to look at the positive since his injury.

“You know, having my arms and being able to shrug my shoulders, having my brain still, like I’m still here,” he explained. “I’m the same person; I’m thankful for that.”

He said he was also grateful for the support he had received. Bantay’s boss at Pielogy in Roseville, Manny Hundal created a fundraiser for him. 

“Chris has a long road ahead of him,” Hundal explained. “There’s going to be some financial strain and we want to to do it try to alleviate some of that, so he can focus on getting better and not lose his spirit.”

Bantay had been working at Pieology for three years. Hundal said he had been promoted to shift leader a year ago and was a great employee. When he and the Pieology crew heard about what had happened, they were shocked. 

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“I have no clue what he’s going through, but I can say I hope he doesn’t lose that fighting personality he has,” Hundal explained. “Yeah, he’s been knocked down, but he can get up and he can get through this. If there’s anything he ever needs we’re here to help him because we appreciate the three years he gave us.”

As Bantay recovered and underwent physical therapy, he wasn’t sure he would get his legs moving again, but he said he was hoping he’d at least be able to play the piano again.

“Ya know, I have high optimism that I’m going to get these fingers rolling back,” Bantay said. 

Manny Hundal, Chris’s boss at Pielogy – He’s got a quirky personality, really upbeat all the time.

The fundraiser for Chris Bantay will be on Tuesday, February 23rd, from 4-8 p.m. Bantay’s family also started a GoFundMe for his recovery and hospital bills.

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