By: Kelly Sommariva
If you live life in a wheelchair even the most average task can be a big challenge. One company, and one high-tech device, is helping to change that, one step at a time.
Agnes Fejerdy is leaving the words "you'll never walk again," behind her, and setting food in a new, more independent lifestyle thanks to a piece of technology at the Madonna Rehab Hospital. "The first time I was so scare. I am never scared of anything, but I was scared," she says.
Seven years ago, she was in a car accident that paralyzed her from the waist down. "That's hard when they say you will not walk anymore. That's so hard and after some months and years it's very hard," she says. About a year ago, she heard about a medical trial for Rewalk Robotic Legs.
"The Rewalk System is a wearable battery operated exo-skeleton that allows paraplegic patients to stand upright and walk and navigate stairs, up and down," said Phil Astrachan, a physical therapist at ARGO Medical Technologies.
With a slight lean forward, the Rewalk propels her body into a walking motion. She uses it two or three times a week as a part of therapy. The increase in exercise has made her back pain go away. She's lost weight and gained so much more. Agnes says the best part is being able to look her family in the eyes again.
"I'm not sitting every time in the wheelchair. I can go around in my house, or outside the house. I can go everywhere I want to, standing and walking. Not just with a wheelchair," Fejerdy says.
The Rewalk System right now is only available for the therapeutic purposes, at rehab hospitals. It's not available at Madonna just yet. The company is working on a model you could take home with you in the near future.