Colorado center helps man with disability walk at daughter’s wedding

National/World

A baby’s first step…walking across the stage at graduation…walking down the aisle on your wedding day.

Many of life’s milestones are about taking steps.

A wellness center in Colorado empowers patients who have lost the ability to walk due to spinal cord or brain injuries.

The center can often help patients meet some of life’s milestones.

Until three years ago, Jim Stamp’s regular workout didn’t include a contraption like this.

“I wasn’t a weekend warrior particularly, but I think I was a fairly active for a guy in his mid-60s.

Then he woke up one morning unable to move.

“You had no idea what was going on or why it was happening, how long it was going to last and how temporary it was.

Jim was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a rare, but serious autoimmune disorder that attacks healthy nerve cells.

The disorder did more than rob Jim of his ability to walk, it threatened to take something else away as well.

My daughter was getting married the following summer. I wanted to be able to walk her down the aisle if possible — dance with her at her wedding.

“Jim wanted to do that so we started with baby steps.

Casi Hudson is Jim’s physical therapist at Craig Hospital’s Peak Wellness Center.

“It’s really him and I working together, me cueing him, making sure he’s not slacking if you will.

PEAK stands for Performance Exercise Attitude and Knowledge.

Here, therapists like Casi, help patients not only build upon their current physical abilities, but create a lifelong plan for health and wellness.

“I had a lady just the other day tell me for the first time she didn’t think about standing up and brushing her teeth, she just did it independently.

Achieving those goals often means using equipment like the “Alter G” an anti-gravity treadmill that allows patients to work on their walking or even running form while only supporting a fraction of their body weight.

Just so I can cue him and show him that his right foot isn’t advancing as far as his left.

Jim no longer uses the wheelchair he was in the first day he came to the PEAK Center and soon he hopes to get rid of his crutch and cane too.

And as far as that original goal of walking his daughter down the aisle and dancing with her at her wedding.

Consider it mission accomplished.

“Being able to dance with her, I don’t believe we left a dry eye in the house.

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