“My journey began nearly eleven years ago on December 30, 2005 while I was driving home late at night to visit my family in Charleston, SC for New Years. I was about 30 miles away from their home when I ended up falling asleep at the wheel for three to five seconds—three to five seconds that would change my life forever.
When I woke up, I was careening off the interstate. I overcorrected, spun out, and crashed into several trees. I was thrown into the backseat of the car and suffered a T9 spinal cord injury that instantly paralyzed me from the belly button down.
In August of 2015, after a decade of living with paralysis and trying to make sense of those three to five seconds that radically changed my life, I was given the opportunity to explore a breakthrough new technology - a ReWalk Robotic Exoskeleton - that would allow me to stand up and walk. I considered it a miracle—an $85,000 miracle currently not covered by health insurance companies.
From the first moment I stood up in the exoskeleton, I knew that my life had radically changed again, but this time for the better. I felt empowered with true purpose for the first time since my accident. It was this moment that lead me to challenge myself in becoming the first paralyzed man in history to walk the Cooper River Bridge Run on April 2, 2016. The 6.2 mile race took me nearly 7 hours and exactly 17,932 steps to cross the finish line. I was surrounded by my family and friends when I crossed the finish line. It was one of the greatest days of my life.
The health benefits, both physical and mental, from learning how to walk again using the ReWalk Robotic Exoskeleton were tangible and numerous. My mission now is to help others—like me—experience those same benefits. I am fighting for the right to walk. Walking should be a RIGHT, not a privilege. I want to welcome you to the I GOT LEGS! One-Million Steps: ReEnabled Race Tour. Please help get me across each finish line. I can not do this alone.”
How robotics helped a paralyzed man cross the finish line