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I GOT LEGS: A Charleston Inspiration

By March 31, 2016 September 29th, 2016 Around Charleston
Photo courtesy of Ruta Elvikyte - Charleston Magazine

Photo courtesy of Ruta Elvikyte – Charleston Magazine

 

The Cooper River Bridge Run is one of Charleston’s most iconic annual events. Every year thousands of runners and walkers from around the globe participate in this 10 kilometer race. Its unique setting and world-class competition provide an unparalleled experience for participants. This year marks an especially remarkable bridge run as history will be made by a truly inspiring individual.

Ten years ago Adam Gorlitsky, a Charleston native and University of South Carolina graduate, was on his way home from Columbia when he was involved in a traumatic car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. As someone who enjoyed athletics and the outdoors his whole life, the accident was especially devastating.

Despite the setback, Adam completed his undergraduate degree in film and returned to Charleston. A few years later, Adam discovered a Youtube video showcasing a new personal exoskeleton system that was still in the experimental stages of development. Initially, Adam was skeptical. The technology was still in its early stages and it seemed clunky and impractical. However, 3 years later doctors at Roper Hospital offered him a chance to try out the technology citing him as a qualified candidate. Adam accepted the offer.

Just learning how to balance again while standing upright was a challenge, but after acclimating himself with the new technology he was able to complete 40 hours of training over 6 months in order to pass an FDA mandated skills test. The feeling of freedom that the exoskeleton gave him was both refreshing and empowering. The test qualified him to own his own personal ReWalk exoskeleton. But that lead to a new challenge.

At a cost of $83,000 per unit, the technology seemed hopelessly out of reach. Nevertheless, the freedom and confidence that Adam experienced drove him to do more than simply standing and walking in a hospital. Adam was on a mission. With the help of an artist, public relations manager, friends and family, Adam assembled a “rag tag” team of talented and devoted advocates who helped him to form the I GOT LEGS campaign.

At first I GOT LEGS was meant to be a fundraiser with the goal of paying for his ReWalk exoskeleton in time for him to walk in the Bridge Run, however it blossomed into something much greater. After raising enough money to pay for the majority of the $83k tab, Adam turned I GOT LEGS into a non-profit organization focusing on connecting, supporting, and empowering other disabled people.

I GOT LEGS from Thomas Brothers Productions on Vimeo.

Since its inception, the I GOT LEGS campaign has gained huge support from the Charleston community. Adam has spoken at numerous public speaking events including local high schools, colleges and businesses. The campaign has also picked up sponsorships from Mercedes-Benz on top of a whole host of local restaurants and businesses. Adam says this is just the beginning and is planning on walking future road races in Charleston with the goal of inspiring others to face their challenges, whatever they may be.

Matt Anderson Properties is proud to be an official sponsor of the I GOT LEGS campaign. If you would like to donate to the I GOT LEGS campaign, visit their website: www.igotlegs.org.

Sources: “Going The Distance” – Charleston Magazine

 

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