HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A paraplegic defied all odds in Huntington Beach Sunday.
He ran in the Surf City Marathon despite having no feeling in his legs.
CBS2’s Joy Benedict talked to Adam Gorlitsky about his feat, and his legs.
Along the sidelines, many runners were applauded by friends and loved ones. But Adam Gorlitsky seemed to draw the most.
It’s apparent the watchers were impressed with Gorlitsky for what he was accomplishing.
He didn’t win, not even close. And he wasn’t going that fast. But when you’re paralyzed any step is worth cheering for.
Gorlitsky became paralyzed in 2005.
“I fell asleep at the wheel for a few seconds and my life literally changed in a blink of an eye,” he says.
He’s been in a wheelchair ever since. About a year ago that changed.
“I always held out hope. Little did I know I’d be walking in a very different way,” Gorlitsky says.
He can’t feel his legs. And despite appearing like he’s walking, the machine he is wearing is doing most of the work.
He’s walking with the aid of a Re-Walk Robotic Exoskeleton.
“I describe it like the lower half of a Terminator suit,” Gorlitsky quips.
When set to walk, he moves his arms, pushes his hips forward and the suit, in turn, moves his legs.
“It’s a different kind of feeling when you’re walking but you’re not feeling the ground,” he says.
And the entire thing is harder than it looks.
“It’s a great core workout — my abs are just completely destroyed right now,” Gorlitsky says.
He says he’s punishing himself to help raise awareness and raise money for his foundation, “I Got Legs.”
The group helps other with paralysis walk again, too.
The Exoskeleton costs about $80,000 and insurance doesn’t cover them.
“We are fighting for the right to walk,” he says, for himself and others who yearn to walk again.
Gorlitsky walked for five hours, completing the last five miles of the race.
He has vowed to walk a million steps in races all over the country and raise $1 million.
But today was mostly about personal achievement.
“Just to be walking across the finish line with everybody it’s an amazing feeling,” Gorlitsky says.