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. He married Jordan Basile on Saturday in the ballroom of a 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. 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?