By Suzanne Monaghan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Walk to Victory over Paralysis kicked off Saturday morning at the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital’s clinic on Columbus Boulevard. The event raises money for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and part of the money goes toward funding patient treatment.
Current and former patients with spinal cord injuries take turns walking on a treadmill, keeping them rolling for 24 hours and proving anything is possible.
“I decided if I can look up, I can get up, and I’m not going to sit back down again,” said Robert Ward. An ATV accident two years ago left Ward in a wheelchair.
Ward began locomotor training. His legs were supported by a harness and suspended over a treadmill, while therapists move his legs to stimulate movement. Now he can walk up to two miles on crutches.
“My goal is to run a marathon again,” he said. “I used to be a marathon runner and a triathlete. I tell everybody it’s going to be the longest marathon cause I’m slow. Two miles takes me about 3 1/2 hours, but it’ll be the longest marathon you’ll ever see, but I’ll be there and I’ll get it done.”
Clinical Supervisor Liz Watson has seen the remarkable benefits the training can bring.
“It’s a specialized treadmill that we put a harness on patients and the treadmill provides body weight support, so we can take part of their weight away from their legs.”
That therapy helped 22-year-old Matthew McCarroll gain some mobility.
“It was really good for me, it was a nice team and they actually did a lot to benefit my trunk and upper body,” McCarroll said. “Gave me a lot more confidence and independence.”
Last year the event raised more than $30,000.