Vietnam veteran Theresa Hannigan became a paraplegic after contracting an autoimmune disease while serving in the military and was told by doctors she would never walk again.
She told that to a crowd of about 100 people this afternoon before she pressed a control button on her wrist and started walking around the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
Hannigan demonstrated a new technology that is still waiting approval in the U.S. and could, advocates said, help countless people with lower limb disabilities. ReWalk by ARGO Medical Technologies is an exoskeleton suit that enables persons with lower limb disabilities to stand, walk and even climb stairs. The device was approved last month in Europe and so far three people there have purchased it for personal use, ARGO officials said.
“For all you doctors out there who told me I’d never walk again, guess what? I am walking,” said Hannigan, who lives on Long Island.
Today’s demonstration was made during the AdvaMed MedTech conference in Boston through Wednesday. It was coupled with ARGO’s announcement that it was moving its U.S. headquarters to Massachusetts. It will be located in Marlborough and will include up to 40 employees. The company has centers in Israel and Germany.
Larry Jasinski, CEO of ARGO said he was proud to join the state’s “life sciences supercluster.”
Nearly a dozen ReWalk training devices are currently in use at rehabilitation centers across the country. A training device costs $87,500, ARGO officials said.