After 16 days of an agonisingly slow process, a paralysed woman has become the first person to complete a marathon in a bionic suit. Talk about an inspiration.
Claire Lomas was paralysed front the chest down in 2007 when she was thrown off her horse and broke her neck, back and ribs, and punctured a lung. Ordinarily, people who sustain these kinds of injuries will never walk again. Many don’t even survive.
But Lomas did. And after extensive rehab, she found her way into a ReWalk suit. The $US70,000 bionic system uses motion detectors powered by an onboard computer system to do the unthinkable: enable people to walk who can’t do so on their own. When the person wearing the outfit shifts her balance, indicative of wanting to take a step, the suit responds the way an able-bodied person’s joints would.
Which is miraculous enough for just getting around the house. But Lomas was determined to take the ReWalk on a 42km grind. Which is why she lined up with about 36,000 others on April 22nd at the start of the London Marathon. She walked about 3.2km each day, accompanied by her husband and 13-month-old daughter. A little over two weeks later, she crossed the finish line.
Lomas won’t receive a medal. She won’t be included in the official competition results. But while people finish marathons all the time, maybe none of them can say they overcame quite as much to get there. [The Telegraph]
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