Tallahassee woman walks again with the help of new device

Published: Jan. 23, 2018 at 6:10 PM EST
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Alex Crescenti | WCTV EyeWitness News

January 27, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- With the help of the robotics device from Rewalk Donna Hill was able to participate in her first 1k Saturday morning since owning the technology.

During the race she had family and friends surrounding her and encouraging her along the journey. However she admits it was quite the process just to get to this point in her journey.

"Kind of chaotic getting here today because you got to transport all of it and it has to charged and I can't get anything and can't over sleep and all that kind of thing, but otherwise it's been fine," said Hill

After months of training with the device Hill was able to take the equipment home of Tuesday. She wants to raise awareness about the technology and make it easier for others to get in the future.

By: Tiffany Lewis | WCTV Eyewitness News

January 23, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- For one paraplegic Tallahassee resident, new technology is making the seemingly impossible, possible.

Donna Hill is just the fourth Floridian to receive a ReWalk Robotics medical device. It allows her to use her legs again after years of paralysis.

"It feels amazing," Hill said, "Never did I think this would be possible."

The device became available in the U.S. four years ago. Hill heard about it, but doubted she would ever get to try it.

"I knew it was created and used overseas," Hill said. "You kind of saw it coming and had hints of it, I just never knew that I would get to the point where I would get to do it."

Getting the device wasn't easy. One ReWalk device is priced at $118,500. Hill had to appeal her insurance company several times before getting the device covered.

"At first it was really slow, probably about the first 8 to 9 months it would be a session here a session there. It would be a couple months until she actually got into the device," said HealthSouth Physical Therapist Danielle Fisher. "She took it to court, and the court decided that she deserved the device, and we've been training her for about the past 6 months now."

After all those months of intense training, Hill was finally able to take the device home Tuesday.

"It's been a bit of a long road, but it was all good because being upright and moving so many times a week, just coming here has made a tremendous impact on my health," Hill said. "In particular, your sense of well-being just exponentially increases."

"We're very proud, but we're also a little sad just because you know now that she's independent we won't see her twice a week. It's bittersweet for sure, but we're so happy and so proud for her," said her physical therapists.

Hill has big plans for her first week with the device. She plans to walk in a 1k on Saturday and is looking forward to many more in the future.

"I feel like if I can break some ground for some folks coming behind me and make it easier for them, that makes it really special for me," Hill said.

She hopes to raise awareness about the device and make it easier for others to get in the future.