17 April 2018

@manchestermarathon inspiration, determination

Claire completing the marathon – image from @manchestermarathon on Twitter.

I remember writing about health and technology earlier in the year for a column in Business Cloud magazine. In it I mentioned one of my favourite innovations: the ReWalk robotic exoskeleton device and a remarkable woman using it for real good.

Ultimately, the device enables people with paralysis to walk again. The innovation enabled Claire Lomas MBE to become the first person to complete the London Marathon back in 2012 wearing a bionic ReWalk suit. Claire was paralysed in a horse riding accident in 2007.

Interestingly, I received a text from my mother-in-law, June, this morning asking if I had seen the story of a woman who had completed the Manchester Marathon. It turns out that that lady was indeed Claire!

Claire took 8 days to walk the 26 mile marathon route in the robotic suit, raising money for charity in the process. Remarkably, she is smiling in every single picture featured in the media coverage. Her fundraising efforts and commitment to making a difference to others have earned her an MBE from the Queen, and so far she’s raised more than £600,000.

Wow.

A marathon effort

It’s hard enough to imagine completing a marathon, never mind being paralysed and completing it in a robotic suit. What an achievement!

It’s amazing how technology is enabling such incredible progress in health. Despite not being able to feel the ground beneath her feet, Claire is able to instruct the suit to shift her weight, enabling her to put one foot in front of the other.

But what is more incredible is the strength of Claire’s spirit. Faced with the news that she would never walk again, she didn’t take no for an answer. She has now completed multiple marathons and races.

It goes to show, doesn’t it, that we can take life’s knocks and stay on the ground, beaten. Or we can stand back up, take charge and smash goals we didn’t even know were possible.

Determination is a remarkable thing.

Congratulations Claire!

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