New device in Long Beach helps paralyzed veteran walk again

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Navy veteran Cedric Delong has been paralyzed for 33 years after being hit by a car while bicycling in San Francisco.

A new axis skeleton device donated to the Veterans Affairs Long Beach Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center is helping Delong accomplish something he thought was impossible.

The technology allows him to stand, take steps and regain some form of independence.

"It is quite encouraging for me and I'm sure for many veterans," Delong said.

Delong noted how times have changed in 33 years.

"There was very little hope that veterans and quadriplegics and paraplegics would ever walk again. As a matter of fact, my doctor told me I would never walk again at that time," Delong said.

Delong's physician said the device is life changing in many ways.

"It's nice to be able to stand up and look people in the eye and actually have the same type of interaction you might have otherwise," explained Dr. Alice Hon, a physician with the Veterans Affairs Long Beach Healthcare System.

The Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center received the $150,000 device from Soldier Strong and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. The device is approved by the FDA for rehabilitation, which means that patients that use it must have some form of mobility.

"My hope is that overtime this device will become much easier to use and more widely available to everyone," Hon said.

Delong said the device, which he said makes him feel like Ironman, means the world to him and other veterans suffering from spinal cord injuries.

"What I'd like to say to them is that hope is on the way for you because the sky's the limit," Delong said.
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