Lowcountry man takes first steps after being paralyzed 10 years ago
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A local man is a few monumental steps closer to his goal of running the Cooper River Bridge Run 10 years after he was paralyzed in a car accident.
Exoskeleton technology is giving people with spinal cord injuries the chance to walk again. For Adam Gorlitzky, the hope is it gives him the chance to do a little more than walk.
"I feel like im strapping into a new body," he said.
On Wednesday, Gorlitzky took a big step -- literally. For the first time, he got into his custom-made exoskeleton mold and walked around Roper St. Francis Hospital in downtown Charleston.
"He's very motivated, very driven, very good at going out and getting what he needs to go to that next step," said Dr. David Powell.
Gorlitzky's doctor at Roper Saint Francis says he's the first person in South Carolina to buy his own ReWalk Exoskeleton.
"I grew up playing basketball, track, cross country here at Wando High School. My body really defined who I was -- an athlete. The second I stood up, I guess I do feel more secure as a man," he said.
It's a robotic device that allows him to shift his weight so he can walk, a medical miracle for the paraplegic paralyzed ten years to the day.
"I decided to drive back to Charleston, fell asleep for 3 to 5 seconds and woke up. I was paralyzed," he said.
The former athlete now wants his own exoskeleton at home to use 4 to 8 hours a day, and train enough to finish the Cooper River Bridge Run.
"I don't feel trapped anymore. I'm able to take control of the movement in my legs," he said. "I want to start living. That's all being empowered is."
For Gorlitzky, putting his best foot forward means something as simple as getting to eat standing up. He says that's something worth celebrating.
Gorlitzky has to pass a few tests mandated by the Food and Drug Administration before he can take the exoskeleton home. His parents are also training so they can help him with it.
The device costs nearly $100,000, and Gorlitzky is still fundraising through his GoFundMe page as he also makes plans to cross the Ravenel Bridge in April's bridge run.