BRIDGING BIONICS FOUNDATION PROUDLY ANNOUNCES THAT FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AMANDA BOXTEL HAS BEEN NAMED A 2018 CNN HERO BY CNN WORLDWIDE
ASPEN, CO — April 12, 2018 — Bridging Bionics Foundation (BBF) is proud to announce that founder, executive director and bionic mobility pioneer Amanda Boxtel has been named a 2018 CNN Hero by CNN Worldwide. In its twelfth year, the CNN Heroes campaign is a year long initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others.
The CNN Hero honor is in recognition of Boxtel’s legacy of helping individuals with neurological impairments regain mobility and, in some cases, stand up and walk, by means of advanced technologies including bionic exoskeleton suits and whole body vibration. Supported through ongoing fundraising efforts and generous donor contributions, the non-profit foundation provides free or low-cost therapeutic mobility sessions to clients of all ages at two fitness facilities near Aspen, Colorado. Paralyzed in a ski accident 26 years ago, Boxtel is the ultimate motivator. Her dedication to helping those with similar challenges to heal and thrive is evident in the example she sets and the determination she demonstrates each and every day.
Marking the honor, a CNN Hero video, titled “Bionic woman helps others thrive after paralysis,” has been posted on CNNHeroes.com. A companion article on Boxtel’s journey and the mission of Bridging Bionics Foundation, as well as a video chronicling a client’s personal journey from paralysis to mobility, may also be viewed on the website, or here:
(video) https://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2018/04/12/cnnheroes-boxtel-extra.cnn/video/playlists/2018-cnnheroes/. Beginning tonight, clips of Boxtel’s video will air on CNN and HLN. Donations to Bridging Bionics Foundation may be made on CNNHeroes.com.
About being named a 2018 CNN Hero, Boxtel shares, “I am humbled to be recognized with this honor, and am incredibly appreciative for the awareness that it will create about the mission and efforts of Bridging Bionics Foundation. The real heroes are our clients who show up weekly to push their limits and attain a better quality of life. Our success so far has been in witnessing improvements with our clients who have various neurological impairments, and maintaining wellness through the gift of mobility. Access to advanced technologies like bionic exoskeletons, and year-long therapy sessions is financially challenging. For most individuals it is cost-prohibitive and unavailable. Our program removes these barriers using charitable funding. As we continue to grow, this exposure will surely help us in our quest to expand our efforts and ensure that advanced technologies remain accessible and affordable for neurorecovery.”
Each year, CNN receives thousands of nominations from around the world. Each week, a CNN Hero is profiled on the global networks of CNN and on CNN.com. This fall, the 2018 Top 10 CNN Heroes will be announced. From the Top 10, viewers select the CNN Hero of the Year through an online vote. The CNN Hero of the Year will be revealed during “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” (date/time TBD). For more information about the CNN Heroes campaign, visit CNNHeroes.com, and follow CNN Heroes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Amanda Boxtel – Bridging Bionics Foundation Founder & Executive Director
Since February 27, 1992, former Brisbane-ite Amanda Boxtel has dreamed of walking again. On that fateful date, a freak skiing accident in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado, rendered her with a permanent spinal cord injury from the pelvis down. She has since been involved in community and outreach projects that aim to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities in the United States. Amanda is the founding Executive Director for Bridging Bionics Foundation, demonstrating how bionic exoskeleton technology has a positive impact on quality of life. Amanda showcased the first partially 3D printed exoskeleton in the world for Singularity University’s European Summit in Budapest, Hungary, and then again at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. In November 2014, Amanda presented her forward thinking ideas about neuro-rehabilitation and humanizing technology at TEDCity2.0 in Chengdu China.
Amanda was the first person in the United States to own an EksoTM bionic exoskeleton suit manufactured by Ekso Bionics, which she acquired in June 2013. She has since donated her exoskeleton to the Bridging Bionics Foundation for use in the Aspen Community to help others who are paralyzed to walk. She lives with her golden retriever, Benson, in Basalt near Aspen, Colorado.
About Bridging Bionics Foundation – At Bridging Bionics Foundation (BBF), we believe all individuals with neurological mobility impairments can live better through the use of advance technology. We see a world using technology to optimize function and improve life for all individuals challenged with mobility impairments. This simple vision drives us to serve people through our unique programs. Our mission is to provide access to bionic rehabilitation technology for all individuals challenged with neurological mobility impairments. We serve individuals with neurological mobility impairments resulting from injury or disease, including spinal cord injuries (paraplegia, quadriplegia), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Cerebral Palsy and stroke. We work every day to be a bridge between advanced technology and those in need.
Bridging Bionics Foundation is an IRS designated 501(c)(3) public charity: EIN# 46-2182977, based out of Basalt near Aspen, Colorado. For more information, please visit www.bridgingbionics.org, or contact:
Amanda Boxtel, Executive Director
Business: + 1 (970) 379-0721
Bridging Bionics Foundation
PO Box 3767, Basalt, CO 81621, United States of America
Follow our journey on:
About CNN Worldwide – CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media. Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company. For more information, visit http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/cnn-fact-sheet/.
“After I work out I feel so much better. I have increased energy levels and my confidence is up. Less than two years after my accident I was able to walk across the stage at my graduation to get my diploma using just a left leg brace and a walker. That’s proof that you have to keep working for the future and you can’t give up.” ~ Mackenzie Langley
“The best neurological and gait training I’ve experienced in the 20 years of paralysis. Never thought I’d enjoy walking again. Now I DREAM of the places I want to WALK and I BELIEVE it WILL HAPPEN!” ~ Leah Potts, 41, C5 Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury Leah’s determination, indomitable will and attitude never ceases to inspire. Watch her powerful story here. At Bridging Bionics Foundation (BBF), we believe all individuals with neurological mobility impairments can live better through the use of advanced technology. We see a world using technology to optimize function and improve life for all individuals challenged with mobility impairments. This simple vision drives us to serve people through our unique programs. Our mission is to provide access to bionic rehabilitation technology for all individuals challenged with neurological mobility impairments. We serve individuals with neurological mobility impairments resulting from injury or disease, including: spinal cord injuries (paraplegia, quadriplegia), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, and stroke. We work every day to be a bridge between advanced technology and those in need. Locomotor training, walking over-ground while fully weight bearing and in correct alignment, has the potential to benefit individuals with lower extremity paralysis, even years after injury. Bridging Bionics is providing access to new technologies as a community benefit.
Fourteen months ago, Nate White rolled into his first physical therapy appointment with Bridging Bionics in a wheelchair. He was ten weeks post spinal cord injury having fractured his second lumbar vertebra in a kayaking accident. He was paralyzed with very limited movement below his pelvis. On that first day of therapy he walked in our bionic exoskeleton suit and was noticeably exhausted. His journey to recovery was just beginning. Today, Nate walks on his own hands free, step-by-patient-step.
On November 2, 2017 Nate took 22 steps on his own, without holding on to anything, and without hyperextending his knee. He wasn’t wearing a supportive brace – it was all him. This is astounding progress. We have witnessed Nate’s recovery and phenomenal weekly improvement from his very first session in our program.
Nate’s combined therapies including Bridging Bionics, using the Galileo vibrational training system daily at home, swimming in the Glenwood Hot Springs pool, Ripple Effect, acupuncture, massage, and even riding a tricycle around town, have all contributed to his neuro-recovery.
He pushes his physical and psychological boundaries with an unstoppable attitude. And he continues to get results!
We are so proud of you Nate. You are a part of our Bridging Bionics family, you are our inspiration, you are kind, you’re hungry to improve, and you exemplify the ultimate athlete. Your spirit knows no limitations.
Thank you to KDVR Fox 31 News/Channel 2, Denver CO for creating such an uplifting story on Nate.
As a direct result of the generosity from supporters near and far, an Indego® Exoskeleton Therapy Kit valued at $175,000 has arrived on our doorstep at the Bridging Bionics Foundation. For our clients who never imagined they’d walk or even stand again, we are able to offer the hope of greater mobility and independence. Because of you – our outSTANDING believers and donors – clients of the Foundation will rise up, stand tall and walk, and lives will change.
With extreme humility, I write this to both thank our donors and update everyone on the Race2walk2016 / Indego Exoskeleton Capital Campaign that was so nobly supported.
Last June, our capital campaign kicked off with Race2Walk2016, inspired by Kelly Hayes. Race2Walk began as a notion that, in his 60th year, Kelly could complete something he had conjured and christened “The Running Decathlon.” Ten races, half as fast as the standing world record in each, on the tracks where the records were originally set. Race2walk2016.com was born with Kelly’s quest as a platform to raise the funds to purchase a new bionic exoskeleton for the clients of Bridging Bionics Foundation, and help them walk.
As days fell into nights, and the months wore on, donations came in. Kelly went to Europe and the United Kingdom with his wife, Linda, and ran six of the ten races (100m/200m/800m/1500m/Mile/5000m), many on the actual tracks and all in the cities of the records. Inexplicably to Kelly, he went six for six in his goal times. Four races remain.
The team at Bridging Bionics set their sites on a new therapeutic exoskeleton named the Indego Therapy Kit from Parker Hannifin, valued at $175,000. We aspire to provide access to the most innovative technologies for our clients to enhance neuro-recovery.
Exoskeletons are a clinical reality for neuro-rehabilitation, and through adding an Indego exoskeleton to our equipment inventory, our program will stand alongside the top rehabilitation centers in the world. It’s important that our clients with neurological mobility impairments have new mobility options, while enabling our therapists to better accommodate individual client needs. Our current Ekso® exoskeleton, which is affectionately named Tucker, will continue to serve our clients with various neurological disorders, including higher level spinal cord injuries (T3-C7 ASIA D). Tucker has endured walking hundreds of thousands of steps with our clients, which prompted the capital campaign and acquisition of a new robotic device.
Like the Ekso, the Indego Therapy Kit enables clinicians to conduct over-ground and task-specific gait training. Indego offers features that set it apart as a tool for therapy for those with spinal cord injuries, including a lightweight modular design (just 26 lbs.), functionality (it’s versatility allows clients to wear their own shoes for training inside and outside on uneven surfaces), intuitive controls with a wireless operation, fast charging light weight batteries that allows continuous extended use, and a variable assist mode that offers clinicians innovative gait therapy options. Future advancements will enable our therapists to offer an even more efficient therapy regimen. Parker hopes that Indego will soon be FDA approved to ‘turn on’ its functional electrical stimulation capabilities, and by early 2018 they hope the device will be FDA approved for individuals with mobility impairments who have sustained a stroke.
Together we celebrate our success. Thanks to Kelly Hayes and his ingenuity with Race2Walk2016, and to the participation of many generous donors, we are proud to announce that as of June 1, 2017 our capital campaign goal was achieved. A total of $178,163.26 was raised and the Indego exoskeleton was ordered.
Thank you for keeping our community walking. Bridging Bionics offers access to new technologies like our Ekso and the new Indego as a community benefit. We are proud to help others for we are all made for mobility. After sustaining a chronic spinal cord injury, we are able to get our clients back on their feet sooner so we can look forward to improved outcomes. We are here to restore an element of hope and bridge the path towards neuro-recovery.
Together, we did it!
In his 60th year Kelly Hayes, will attempt to run something he has created and titled “The Running Decathlon.” Think of it as Cross-Fit for runners.
Over the next 12 months he will run each of the ten most contested running events with a goal of completing each “half as fast” or in twice the time of the current world record in each event. He will also try and run each event in the location where the current world record was set. On the actual track where possible.
His attempt to complete this “quest” will serve as a platform to raise funds and bring attention to the advances in exoskeleton technology that are allowing those with mobility impairments rise from their wheelchairs and actually take assisted walks.
You will be able to follow Kelly on his journey, which begins in Rome on July 7, 2016 on
Make a 100% tax- deductible contribution towards the purchase of a bionic exoskeleton suit for the Bridging Bionics Foundation’s program, Able Bionics USA. 100% of your donations will go towards the purchase of one or more exoskeletons for the program.
Please turn Kelly’s steps into dollars. And we will turn dollars into steps for those who want to walk again.
A personal letter from Kelly Hayes
While doing research for a human-interest story I learned about the mission of the Bridging Bionics Foundation and was enormously inspired. I wanted to do something to assist them in achieving their goals.
On June 4, 2016 I turned 60 years of age. To celebrate, I have concocted a plan to achieve something that I don’t believe anyone has ever tried before. I call it “The Running Decathlon.” My goal? To run the 10 top racing distances over the course of the next year half as fast as the standing World Record in each event. The events are the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and the Marathon.
This summer, I’ll travel to the tracks and stadiums of Europe where the world’s fastest runners set their record times. On the same date and on the same tracks where they achieved those world records, I’ll run in their footsteps… slower… but just as determined.
In an effort to support Bridging Bionics Foundation, I plan to raise funds through donations to purchase an exoskeleton bionic suit for the use of those who are clients. I hope to turn my running quest into a platform to help others in their quest to walk.
Join me by helping however you can — a sponsorship, a donation, words of encouragement. You can literally turn dollars into steps.
For more information, please go to http://www.race2walk2016.com/
To make a donation, please go to http://www.race2walk2016.com/the-cause/
You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
– Kelly J. Hayes
For the first time in the history of assisted movement, there is a mobility option beyond standard wheelchairs and unpowered orthotics: the bionic exoskeleton suit.
Read the Full Story
“I believe that for the very first time in the history of mobility impairment, we may be able to honestly tell people that there is an option beyond standard wheelchairs. That they may one day be able to walk again,” Amanda Boxtel says with the enthusiasm of a nonprofit administrator.