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Gill takes first steps for 8 years.

Byline: Liz Walker

A paralysed woman has been able to stand for the first time in eight years thanks to a unique piece of equipment.

Gill McCaskie, from Redcar, was left confined to a wheelchair after a calcified disc in her back compressed her spinal cord.

But then she came across the Dynamic Parapodium, a device that allows users to rock from side to side, effectively taking steps.

Mrs McCaskie, 46, of Mickle Dales, said: "I'm not actually walking and still cannot feel my legs, but being able to stand up, look people in the eye and to feel as if I am walking is a great feeling.

"It is a real confidence boost, being on the same level as other people."

Mrs McCaskie was left paralysed from the waist down after her spinal cord was damaged.

She said: "I don't think it really sank in at first. It all happened quite suddenly and I just had to get used to it.

"When I first found out I was paralysed I thought I would never walk again. To be able to do this, even if I'm not actually walking, is fabulous and I am glad more people will get the chance to use it."

Mrs McCaskie, whose son Philip, 22, is in the RAF and daughter Sandy, 23, is in the Army, bought her Parapodium after reading about it in a national newspaper.

The device is an adjustable standing frame, which acts as an exoskeleton, with braces in front of the knees and at the back, allowing patients to rock from side to side.

She said: "I use it as an exercise tool about three times a week to help me get around.

"Although it's really easy to use it's too big to take to the shops or anything like that. I just use it in my house and on my drive."

Now more patients will be able to take advantage of the Parapodium, after one was donated to Middlesbrough's James Cook University Hospital.

The devices are being delivered to each of the spinal injury centres across the UK after a 24-hour relay event, using the equipment, was held to raise funds to buy them. They can help with rehabilitation, physiotherapy and can be used by just about any patient with a spinal cord injury.

Pam Phirlwell, physiotherapist at the hospital said: "It's good as it allows people to get on their feet who couldn't do so otherwise.

"Patients feel better being able to stand up."
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 25, 2006
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