It’s being dubbed a “Christmas miracle.” A man who was paralyzed during a construction accident back in 2008 is up walking for the first time in nearly a decade with the help of an intricate robotic device.
Rusty Chmelovsky, 39, has been confined to a wheelchair since 2008, but he’s now working with the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, New York, to learn how to use the ReWalk exoskeleton device.
It’s an amazing, new technology that gives him and others with spinal injuries mechanic hip and knee motion so that they can stand up and walk, WABC-TV reported.
And Chmelovsky is pretty lucky, as he’s one of only 150 people in America — and just 300 in the world — who can use the $95,000 device, which his insurance covered.
He will now be able to use it for a few hours at home each day, as he continues to learn the ins and outs and adjusts to the amazing life change that the ReWalk exoskeleton device has ushered in.
“I’ll just get better and better,” Chmelovsky told WABC. “Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be running.”
The former construction worker became paralyzed nine years ago when he fell 32 feet from the top of a home while on the job. It was something that he said he never thought would happen to him.
“I didn’t believe the doctor when he said I will never walk,” he told News 12.
But now he has an entirely new lease on life and can do some of the basic things so many of us take for granted: stand, make eye contact with others, hug people and engage in more physical activity.
Glenda Rosado, Chmelovsky’s physical therapist, reaffirmed that the technology truly is life-changing.
“You’ve changed someone’s view of the world,” she told News 12. “He was used to looking at the world in a wheelchair level, looking up at people, and now he can stand up and look at you eye to eye, and be able to have a conversation. That’s huge!”