It was a day to remember. Amy Silverman walked gracefully across the floor. “Just look at how nice my gait looks!” Silverman marveled.
Silverman, a below-knee amputee, was among the first to test the Enlight Gait Trainer independent mobility device designed by Enlighten Mobility. While her inaugural walk was part of a prototype review held at David Rotter Prosthetics in Joliet, Il., Silverman’s ability to “walk normally” with the Enlight Gait Trainer was a milestone for the special education high school teacher.
In 2016, Silverman was amputated below her right knee – the result of trauma from a motorcycle accident. Since her amputation, Silverman has endured rigorous rehabilitation, determined to improve her health while working to better her gait.
“I’m always so inspired by people that climb mountains with no arms and no legs, but my path is different,” said Silverman. “For me, walking with a normal gait is a victory.”
Silverman’s journey to walk normally took off earlier in her rehabilitation when she met Enlighten Mobility founder Marissa Koscielski – a meeting Silverman calls “miraculous.”
At the time, Koscielski was working alongside patients and clinicians to research how early intervention with movement could advance both development and recovery with vulnerable populations like amputees. “Amputees like Amy do not have accessible and specialized technology, which often leaves them dependent on a wheelchair or walker, opening up the risk for suffering further physiological decline,” said Koscielski, whose work with patients like Silverman became the impetus for launching Enlighten Mobility.
“That period after my amputation was scary,” said Silverman. “I was using my back and neck to hop around with a walker. I would have felt more hopeful if I was able to stand up in a device to help me feel like I could walk.”
On prototype testing day, the Enlight Gait Trainer lived up to its promise, taking Silverman safely and easily from a sitting position to standing up so that she could accomplish the biomechanics of walking normally.
“It felt empowering,” said Silverman about her experience in the Enlight Gait Trainer. “Having accessibility to an independent walking device will make a difference. It’s also the psychological piece that’s so important to all of us — knowing and believing `I can do this…I can walk…I’m going to get a leg and I will walk.’”