Robotic device helps bionic groom walk down aisle Jordan Basile, left, and Matt Ficarra, center, exchange wedding vows (AP photos)
Robotic device helps bionic groom walk down aisle
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Matt Ficarra has been paralyzed from the chest down since a boating accident three years ago, but that didn't stop him from walking down the aisle.

Ficarra was able to stand and walk during the wedding ceremony with the help of a battery-powered robotic exoskeleton called an Ekso. Ficarra has been paralyzed since he broke his neck in a boating accident in 2011. On Saturday, he married Jordan Basile in the ballroom of hotel.

"It feels great to be married,'' said Ficarra, 30, "and I am so happy to have met my goal of walking at my wedding."

Ficarra told reporter Elizabeth Doran of the Syracuse Post-Standard that he has been driving seven hours to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown, Pa. weekly since April in order to practice walking with the apparatus. Since his engagement in December, he's vowed he would not roll down the aisle in a wheelchair.

The portable bionic exoskeleton helps patients whose legs are paralyzed stand and walk and Ficarra said it feels incredibly natural to walk with the device, and loves being able to stand his full 6-foot height.

"It's spectacular,'' said Frank Ficarra, Matt's father. "I am so proud of him, he's determined and he accomplishes what he sets out to do.

"He doesn't give up on anything. He's a gem."

Critical thinking challenge: Why must the device be portable?

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COMMENTS (19)
  • hailie1237
    10/30/2014 - 01:11 p.m.

    This story is incredible. I love being able to see him accomplish his dream of walking down the aisle. It's cute and inspiring story for many wouldn't be able to do this. I'm one of those people who loves hearing about those things. It's incredible that the exoskeleton can make it del natural to walk, and it's very in springing to hear that technology is getting better and better as the days go by.

  • PJuan-Sti
    10/30/2014 - 05:43 p.m.

    That's pready cool that they gave them the robotic device to help him walk him walk. And thats really nice to gave him that to.

  • CapeleyZ-1
    10/30/2014 - 08:04 p.m.

    Recently a man who has been paralyzed from the chest down since a boating accident got to walk down the aisle of his wedding. The man, Matt Ficarra, has made it his goal to be able to walk down the aisle at his wedding without a wheel chair and he did. He of course got help from exoskeleton called Esko. Ficarra also had to drive seven hours each day to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown, Pa. His whole family is exceptionally proud. I think this is so inspirational. It really shows you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

  • Ashleypatt
    10/31/2014 - 01:42 p.m.

    The device must be portable because so it can help him go down the aisle to get married. To fight being paralyzed is one hard thing to get around. Seeing people being able to move is the best thing because theres somewhere they cant move at all. This guy has a device to help him move. Its glad to see him happy again because im sure he wasnt happen when he was paralyzed. So to see someone get married like this is a great thing to see.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    10/31/2014 - 02:14 p.m.

    It's good to see this couple doing whatever it takes to make a proper ceremony, despite the current circumstances. The technology that exists now allows these beautiful things to take place, and it's great to see these things being used to their fullest extent.

  • 8carsont
    11/17/2014 - 05:52 p.m.

    This is so cute and it makes me so happy! If I was the bride all of my dreams would have came true the day i found out the love of the love of my life could walk down the ails after a tragic accident. I love love and i can not wait for my wedding day....

  • 8chasityx
    11/20/2014 - 07:56 p.m.

    Critical thinking challange: The device must be portable so the person using the device can move. In able for them to walk or move or function. And its portable so they bring it to other places and get to the places they need to be such as we do. Fore example going to the car, walking to bed, getting dinner all that.

  • oliviap-Bea
    11/21/2014 - 02:24 p.m.

    if that did not warm your heart i don't know what will. That is so awesome that he was so determined to walk down the aisle at his wedding. It is a real tear jerk er, it is for me anyway. I also find it amazing that his wife stood by his side through it all. capitalization 2xs, comma after if phrase, j

  • LylaH-1
    2/18/2015 - 12:28 a.m.

    On his special day, Matt Ficarra was able to stand and walk during the wedding ceremony with the help of a battery-powered robotic exoskeleton called an Ekso. He has been paralyzed from the chest down since he had a terrible boating accident that occurred over three years ago. When he was engaged in December, he vowed that he would not go down the aisle in a wheelchair. The exoskeleton Ficarra used helps patients whose legs are paralyzed stand for the first time. Ficarra told a reporter that he would drive seven hours to a rehabilitation center to practice walking with the exoskeleton. This story was inspiring to me because I learned that I should never give up on anything, no matter how hard the circumstances can be. This story was very inspirational.

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