“This has been a dream of mine, and I hope I can serve as an inspiration to others that you too can achieve what seems like the impossible," said Retired Army Sergeant Theresa Vereline.
Retired Army Sergeant Theresa Vereline is officially the first-ever paralyzed American to cross the finish line of the famous New York City Marathon. She's also the first veteran in the world to do so with an exoskeleton.
She finished the first 10-mile stretch through each of the 5 boroughs of New York City over 3 days. Walking 10 miles of the 26.2 on Nov. 1st, and another 10 miles on the 2nd, she finished the last 6.2 on the day of the actual marathon. She crossed the finish line on November 3rd at 6:35 PM, reports Good News Network.
She didn't use a wheelchair for the marathon but a futuristic device called an exoskeleton from ReWalk. The ReWalk 5.0 exoskeleton suit is designed to help paraplegics move around with the help of crutches for balance.
ReWalk Robotics Ltd. develops, manufactures and markets wearable robotic exoskeletons for individuals with lower limb disabilities as a result of spinal cord injury or stroke. Who better to represent them other than Vereline?
"Words cannot express the feelings I had crossing the finish line,” Vereline said in a press release. “This has been a dream of mine, and I hope I can serve as an inspiration to others that you too can achieve what seems like the impossible — especially all of the disabled children I meet across the country”.
The 65-year-old became paralyzed in 2011. She has been using the ReWalk Robotics exoskeleton since 2012, which allows her to stand and walk. "Ever since the day I stood up in the ReWalk for the first time, opportunities I never thought I'd have again were laid out before me," Vereline added.
"I trained hard, and was able to achieve something amazing. And I am grateful for the chance to be able to stand and walk again every day." The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs established a national procurement policy for retired veterans to receive the miracle device. She's been traveling to share her story on how ReWalk has changed her life.
“We are incredibly proud of her. Her achievement at the marathon and her efforts to help others with disability are inspirations to us all,” Andy Dolan, ReWalk’s vice president of marketing, told CNET in an email.
Pretty cool development, hope to see it become "mainstream" SOON!!!— michael e schmidlen (@mschmidlen) November 12, 2019
"Exoskeleton helps paralyzed US veteran cross NYC Marathon finish line" - Retired Army Sgt. Theresa Vereline completed the race with the aid of her ReWalk Exoskeleton. https://t.co/d2bZKLfqHk
With scientific advances, robotic companies like ReWalk, Ekso Bionics, Rex Bionics, and SuitX are introducing models to help make life easier with every step. People with injuries to their spinal cord can help move again and aspire to become marathoners too.
Sky's the limit really. Those who suffer from such injuries suffer from increased risk of cardiovascular disease, urinary tract infections, bone-density loss, chronic pain, and pressure ulcers. Being able to just stand can vastly help improve their quality of life.