Roosevelt “R.J.” Anderson has dreamed of getting back on his feet for years.
Doctors told him he’d be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
But three years after he was paralyzed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident, the 32-year-old Army veteran is walking again — thanks to a high technology robotic exoskeleton that is offering new hope to a handful of wheelchair users.
“It’s surreal — I’m really truly blessed,” said Anderson, who’s the first person in Chicago to take home a battery-powered ReWalk device that mimics walking.
Anderson can now stand up, sit, and, in theory, walk for up to four hours straight before the device’s two batteries run out.
But the Chicago native is aiming higher.
“We ran a lot in the Army and I love to run, so I’d love to be able to do that again, that’s my goal,” he said, adding that he hopes one day to walk without the device.
Anderson doesn’t know who the anonymous donor is who stumped up the $71,500 to pay for the device, but he said he’d like to shake his hand.
ReWalk’s CEO Larry Jasinski said, “We had a very generous person coming to us and said ‘look I’d like to help a veteran.” The company then called the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where Anderson had been training with exoskeletons for months.
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