Walking Again After 15 Years

Karen McNew McGuire's picture
By Karen McNew McGuire on January 11, 2018

Pam Cobler hasn’t walked in more than 15 years and the hope is that today, that will change because of this device called ReWalk. The exoskeleton is driven by technology, operated with a watch-like device.
 
“It was developed for spinal cord patients,” explained Kellen Smith, a Carilion Clinic physical therapist. “It allows them to be upright to be walking, to be weight bearing through their lower extremities.”
 
The device also provides cardiovascular and bone density benefits to many spinal cord injury patients.
 
Today’s session is part of training for physical therapists who will teach patients how to use the ReWalk device.
 
Getting strapped in, is only the beginning. ReWalk cues patients with a beep. Then, after a brief pause, three more beeps signal standing.
 
Pam’s friend, Scott is here for support. He uses ReWalk and wanted Pam to try it.
 
“Pam is awesome!,” said Scott “I met Pam not too long after I was injured. She has been a big part of this support group, she pretty much she started it”
 
Pam started the Disability Rights and Resource Center and at its core is encouragement, a much needed emotion for Pam just after her spinal cord injury.
 
“I felt like at first I didn’t fit in anywhere,” noted Pam. “I didn’t feel like I fit in the rolling world and I was no longer in the walking world, so I was somewhere in between.”
 
After several hours of training, Pam is ready to give it a try. 
 
“When I was injured I believed I would walk again,” said Pam.
 
This moment is made possible because of faith, technology and friendship.
 
“Today is the first day that I have walked since 2001, so that was a huge personal accomplishment and something that I believe is life sustaining,” said Pam. “It gives me hope. I was created to walk so it was fun to do that again.”