N.S. woman paralyzed in crash receives bionic suit to help her walk
A young Nova Scotia woman who was left a quadriplegic after a car crash more than four years ago has received a life-changing delivery.
Amy Paradis has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a bionic suit from California that will help her stand on her feet again.
“I’m not really sure what to think, there’s so many emotions,” she said after receiving the suit Friday.
“I want to cry but I just want to get up and jump up and down right now.”
Paradis lost the use of her arms and legs at the age of 16 after a car crash on Boxing Day in 2009. Paralyzed from the chest down, the teen was told she would never walk again.
Two years ago, her family opened Footprints, a non-profit spinal cord injury recovery centre in their hometown of Windsor, N.S.
Paradis has made incredible progress since the center opened, but her family has had their eye on the special bionic suit to help her walk.
After an assessment determined Paradis could handle the suit, her family started fundraising.
Community benefits and donations have made it possible for the family to pay the $12,000 down payment for the suit. They hope to be able to buy the $100,000 suit by the end of the year.
Paradis will get to try out her new suit on Monday. A physiotherapist from California will be working with her for five days.
“Essentially, making sure that Amy’s comfortable with this, comfortable in it, able to use it in a safe way,” says Paradis’ mother Marlene Belliveau.
Belliveau and Paradis’ kinesiologist will also receive training so they can continue working with her.
“There’s so many new possibilities that opens up for us here at the centre, and for Amy to be able to get up and walk again, retrain those connections as if she was walking,” says kinesiologist Marki Wong.
Paradis says she is excited to use her new suit and she hopes it inspires others to follow their dreams.
“I want to be able to show people that you should never give up, especially people in my position,” she says.
“Don’t be satisfied when somebody says ‘this is what you’re going to be’ and just be. There’s more to it, keep going.”
Paradis says she is most excited to be able to hug her friends and family – something she hasn’t been able to do in more than four years.
“Hugging. Just looking eye-to-eye and hugging.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster