Retired Army Sargent Theresa Vereline became reportedly the first paralyzed American to successfully complete a marathon, walking the entire 26.2 mile distance of the 2019 New York City Marathon using a ReWalk Personal 5.0 robotic exoskeleton device, ReWalk Robotics reports.
Vereline, age 65, worked with New York Road Runners, the organizers of the race, to compete in the 2019 NYC Marathon by walking the course over 3 days.
Vereline began her marathon effort Friday, November 1, walking 10 miles. She continued with another 10 miles Saturday, November 2, and completed the final 6.2 miles on the official race day, Sunday, November 3. She crossed the finish line on Sunday evening at 6:35 p.m. ET.
Vereline is now the first paralyzed American to successfully complete a marathon. She also holds the title of the first veteran in the world to complete a marathon using an exoskeleton, ReWalk Robotics explains.
“Words cannot express the feelings I had crossing the finish line,” Vereline shares. “This has been a dream of mine, and I hope I can serve as an inspiration to others that you too can achieve what seems like the impossible—especially all of the disabled children I meet across the country.”
Vereline was paralyzed in 2011 and has been using the ReWalk Robotics exoskeleton since 2012, which allows her to stand and walk. ReWalk devices have also been used by a number of ReWalkers around the world to compete in various races—including the London Marathon and numerous road races in the US.
“Ever since the day I stood up in the ReWalk for the first time, opportunities I never thought I’d have again were laid out before me,” Vereline adds, in the release. “I trained hard, and was able to achieve something amazing. And I am grateful for the chance to be able to stand and walk again every day.”
ReWalk received FDA clearance for its Personal and Rehabilitation devices in 2014. The US Department of Veterans Affairs established a national procurement policy, working with retired service members across the country who are eligible to receive a device. Vereline was the first veteran to receive a device following FDA clearance. She has traveled the world to speak about the impact the exoskeleton has had on her life and health.
“Terry is a part of our family, and it was incredible to be there with her at the finish line Sunday,” ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski comments. “It is particularly poignant as we celebrate Veterans Day to see all that Terry has accomplished, and the legions of veterans and spinal cord-injured individuals she is inspiring with every step.”
[Source(s): ReWalk Robotics Ltd, PR Newswire; image courtesy of New York Post]