Modern Science Helps Teen to Walk Again
A brave young woman is about to do what was thought to be impossible—walk again.
Elaine Loyola loved cheerleading. The athletic 16-year-old from Waco, Texas, had non-stop energy until her world came crashing down. It happened after a night of partying when Loyola says the driver of the car she was in lost control.
"I remember looking down at my feet and I was really confused why they weren't moving," said Loyola.
Her mom, an ER nurse, raced to her bedside and was told the grim news.
"[They said] 'Your daughter will never walk again.' You're in a state of shock," said Loyola's mom.
With the other cheerleaders rallying around her, Loyola left the hospital. From the waist down she was paralyzed.
"Even to this day it hurts hearing that word," said Loyola.
Four years after the accident, Loyola is now a sophomore at Baylor University. Her legs spasm involuntarily, but she is determined to one day walk again.
"Everyday I would ask them, 'When am I going to get out of this? When am I going walk again?' " said Loyola.
Now that dream is about to come true at the Moss Rehab Facility in Philadelphia. Her wheelchair was pushed aside and Loyola was strapped into state of the art device called a Re-Walk
Loyola's mom said, "It looks like something the military would use."
Loyola uses a controller on her wrist to activate it. Then the big moment. Loyola was powered up and found herself standing on her own two feet, and was walking again.
"My jaw dropped. It feels great," said Loyola.
Research engineer Tom Coulter says the Re-Walk will help keep her muscles toned and reduce bone density loss.
"If a cure is ever available, her body will still be, hopefully, physically fit enough to take advantage of the cure," said Coulter.
It will take practice to master the Re-Walk. The battery pack will allow Loyola to stand on her two feet for three-and-a-half hours.
Now she's inspiring others. Her mom can't hardly believe what she's seeing.
"To see that smile on her face when she's walking is really incredible," said Loyola's mom.
Then came the tender moment of mother and daughter embracing each other, while standing.
Her days as a cheerleader may be over but Loyola still has plenty to cheer about in her life.