‘Tis the season for charity events, fundraisers, and various and sundry groups competing for your hard-earned dollars. If you’re anything like me, you find it impossible to give to every organization you feel is worthy because of your own budget constraints, but you do what you can. I’ve settled on rotating through a list and giving when I can. But had I known about this, I may well have made an exception this year.

ReWalk is an exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to walk upright with the help of crutches. If you know someone confined to a wheelchair you know how amazing that is. It’s made by ARGO Medical Technologies, and uses electric motors located near the knees and hips to guide them through taking steps after detecting a shift in balance that indicates they would like to get moving. It’s powered by a battery pack worn in a backpack. Obviously it can’t work for everyone, but they’re in the lab testing all the time to make improvements with the hopes that eventually no one will have to remain seated at all times. Right now ReWalk is available to rehabilitation hospitals in the US, Europe and Israel, while private patients in Europe can purchase one of their own. In its current form, ReWalk works for those who have lower limb mobility impairment but who do have functioning hands and arms.

Now the walk. Recently in New York City, Team ReWalk participated in the Generosity NYC 5K, with proceeds benefitting the non-profit Bronx Veterans Medical Research Foundation. Participants for Team ReWalk came not just from the US, but from Europe and the Middle East, and included several armed forces veterans as well as civilians. The walkers all used their ReWalk exoskeletons from start to finish, which quite honestly is giving me a lump in my throat. I cannot imagine how amazing it must have been for friends and family to see their loved ones walking 5k (3.1 miles) when they’re used to seeing them in a wheelchair. And I can’t imagine how amazing it must have felt for the participants who were walking.

No word on how much money was raised, but it doesn’t actually matter. What matters is getting a group of people together from around the world to walk, in public, when they most likely were told that could never happen again. This was reportedly the first time an international group of users came together for an event like this, but I suspect (and hope) that it will not be the last.

Source: Gizmag

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