This Sunday a very exciting thing is happening – three paraplegics from the NYC-area will be using the amazing ReWalk, a revolutionary bionic exoskeleton from Israel, to walk 1 mile as part of “Team ReWalk,” to raise money for the Bronx Veterans Medical Research Foundation.
Jon Woo, one of the members of the group, has one heck of the back-story too. He was injured only six years ago when he was working as an architect for Goldman Sachs. While on-site at a construction area, a crane broke with seven tons of steel landing on the trailer he was in. He was folded in half, and his spine was crushed, rendering him a paraplegic.
For Jon, the transition from able-bodied too paraplegic was especially hard. His wife left him and he stopped working for Goldman Sachs, however when he heard about the ReWalk, he began to feel hope again. So he went to his local rehab center, the Spinal Cord Damage Research Center in the VAMC in Bronx, NYC, and signed up for lessons to learn how to use the ReWalk.
So far he has walked in the $70,000 suit for 68 sessions. He can’t take it out in public yet since the FDA has yet to improve in for use outside of a rehab setting, but they’re hoping the FDA will make this decision by the end of 2013.
What I love about the three-man Team ReWalk though is that they formed an actual team. There’s always more strength in numbers and these three guys are determined to show the world how this technology is life-changing. The team was also featured in on the Discovery Channel. Watch a clip here
For many people who are paralyzed, bionic exoskeletons provide real hope of walking again in our lifetimes. They may be ridiculously expensive and have not been approved for public use quite yet, but they will be, and the prices on these will definitely come down too.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to see how many minds team ReWalk blow this Sunday. If you live in the NYC area and would like to cheer on team ReWalk and see these badasses in person, check out the official site for the 5k: Generosity 5k
Would you use a bionic exoskeleton?
– Read more about Jon Woo’s story in the Gothamist, Paralyzed By Seven Tons Of Steel, Man Now Walks With A Bionic Suit