Dad Able To Walk Daughter Down The Aisle Thanks To Robotic Exoskeleton Suit
A dad was able to walk his daughter down the aisle thanks to a special robotic exoskeleton suit.
Steve Barnes, 59, took part in a ground-breaking trial that uses brand-new technology that helps people living with conditions such as multiple-sclerosis to 're-learn' how to walk.
The trials involved Steve wearing the suit, which focuses on strengthening the core abdominal muscles by encouraging whoever is wearing it to use them while carrying out a range of activities - such as lifting weights, or throwing and catching a balloon.
The suit also 'walks' the patient back and forward slowly, allowing them to focus on their core muscles to improve strength, balance and mobility.
Steve could then practice the exercises at home so he would be ready for his daughter Coral's wedding.
Thanks to the suit and his commitment and hard-work, Steve says the results were even better than he dared to hope.
Steve said: "At the start of the trial I could only stand for 30 seconds. At the end they asked me to do it for two minutes, and those two minutes were effortless. I am sure I could have gone on and done more.
"I was also able to balance while looking over my shoulder and reaching forward while standing - it felt quite revelatory being able to do these things."
Talking about Coral's big day, he added: "It was really emotional - the night before the wedding, my daughter gave me some socks with the words 'slow and steady' on and the date.
"I didn't want to let her down and even that morning the registrar said we might have to think about using the scooter as my legs were hardly functioning, but I was able to do it and it was brilliant.
"The whole day was fantastic but the fact I was able to walk her down the aisle was the icing on the cake."
Steve is delighted with the results and says the trial have given him a focus.
"It has been so positive for me," he added. "I continue to struggle but it has given me new hope, a useful set of tools to use and a foundation to build on.
"I had developed bad habits, like keeping my left leg straightened because I was scared it would give way. The suit forces you to bend your knee and re-stimulate good practice and posture, and it did kickstart a desire to stand straighter and walk better.
"It gave me a focus and the ability to switch muscles on and off that will stay with me, even now the trial has finished."
Dr Mohamed Sakel, one of the trial's leaders, said: "We have the opportunity with this trial to help people make a real difference to their lives.
"The machine takes away the risk of falling and the fear that accompanies it and allows people to become confident in a safe environment. They can retrain their muscles and build up their strength, so they are able to realise the benefits outside of the machine as well.
"I'm delighted to see the results from patients such as Steve and am looking forward to analysing the data and seeing if we can help even more people in the future."
Featured Image Credit: NHS