A Windsor, N.S., family is hoping to see their daughter walk again thanks to a high-tech bionic suit, something that would have seemed impossible only years ago.
It was Boxing Day 2009, when Amy Paradis was in a car crash that left her paralyzed.
It has been a long road to recovery ever since.
“I've gained a lot more independence and obviously, more muscle, that I was told I was never going to get,” she said.
The doctors told Paradis she would never walk again, but thanks to a bionic exoskeleton suit made by Ekso Bionics, she believes she will.
Ekso is a wearable exoskeleton that fits over a person’s clothes. Battery-powered motors drive the legs and crutches help the user balance.
Walking is achieved as the user’s weight shifts, which activates sensors in the suit to prompt forward steps.
“It will literally enable her to walk again — it will retrain the body how to go through the motions, and over time her leg muscles will get stronger. We need this,” said Marki Wong, Paradis’s trainer on their GoFundMe website.
Paradis said it would change her life.
"Just regaining more independence and ability and to show people that nothing is impossible," she said.
"With Amy we have seen phenomenal progress and there's progress every day," said her mother, Marlene Belliveau.
After her injury, Paradis and her mother started a spinal cord injury recovery centre in Windsor called Footprints. They're fundraising online to raise $80,000 to buy the suit, which would be kept at the centre for all clients to use.
They’re attempting to raise $12,000 by Friday for the down payment. In the meantime, they will lease the suit from the company.
The effort has even caught the attention of Springhill singer Anne Murray, who tweeted a link to the fundraising page.
"We want to move forward and this is why — this is something that's very beneficial, very, very beneficial to the spinal-cord-injured community," said Belliveau.
The suit should arrive sometime in April. The centre will be the third in Canada to have one.