A paralysed Cloghan resident is offering the use of his €120,000 bionic suit to others with reduced mobility.
Gerry McCabe's spine was injured leaving him paralysed after he fell from a roof in 2004.
Through the generosity of the people of Cloghan and the community in Gerry's native Dundalk, Co Louth, Gerry was able to get his own Ekso bionic suit which allows him to now walk every day.
“I just have to share it. People were good to me and sure what the hell, what goes around comes around,” he remarked.
Although he walks over 1,400 steps a day in the suit now, Gerry said he still believes the device could be helping others when he isn't using it.
Gerry has issued an invitation to anyone who could benefit from the use the suit to come and try it out. He said it is particularly useful to those suffering from MS, brain injury, stroke and spinal injury.
Having tried out a number of suits before choosing the one he now uses, Gerry is hopeful he can assist other people who are looking at Ekso suits by saving them the time, effort and expense of going overseas to inspect a suit which mightn't be right. Gerry has two physios on hand who can assist with the fitting and says his suit is adjustable for people of all heights and sizes.
He pointed out that he had no hidden agenda and said he doesn't represent any company or manufacturer. He simply wants others to benefit from the generosity he has enjoyed thanks to his neighbours, family and friends.
While Gerry still uses his wheelchair on a daily basis, the ability to walk everyday is hugely beneficial from both a physical and mental health perspective, Gerry explained.
“We are designed to stand up and all our vital organs are back where they should be when you walk,” he remarked. “It won't replace the wheelchair but you will be clipping your heels coming out, it's great,” he added.
Gerry thanked the community in Cloghan and everyone in Louth who helped fundraise for his suit. He has travelled around Ireland with his suit in order to raise awareness of the device's capabilities and the possibilities it holds for people.
Following one of his visits, a community in Letterkenny, Co Donegal came together and purchased one of the suits, he explained. Gerry said he would love to see a suit made available in every county in Ireland.
“This suit is here in the midlands and it is ready to go,” Gerry remarked.
Anyone who would like to talk to Gerry can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org