Jessie Gregory is a young Ontarian who is fond of athletic activities, has a strong team spirit and a very developed will to help. She first graduated from the police foundations program, then got her certificate to become a personal trainer and a massage therapist, while being one of the goalies for the Canadian Women’s National Sledge hockey team.
But the course of events has not been as smooth as it seems. In 2008, Jessie was involved in a car accident that caused her to have a Spinal Cord Injury and reduced motor functions. Her legs are now only partially functioning, she can’t stay on her feet for too long, and she’s not able to climb stairs by herself.
She’s now one of the estimated 86 000 Canadians who have to live with the consequences of a SCI, which affects the individuals’ autonomy and mobility(sources: http://fondationadaptetoit.org/fondation/ et https://www.sciontario.org/faq/introduction/fast-facts).This kind of injury, should it be complete or not, has an impact on the patients as well as on their environment and their relatives, because it involves help, assistance, and accessible spaces adapted to their condition.
In Jessie’s case, the SCI had an impact on her whole lifestyle. Before, she was very athletic and liked the outdoors, going camping, riding her bike or even go kayaking; after the accident, she had to go through a very intense and rigorous rehabilitation program to get some of her mobility back. Now, she’s able to walk again by herself using an orthosis, but climbing stairs is still one of her challenges, mainly if she has no help.
The hope for getting her mobility back and an improved stability resurfaces when she meets Julia Hanes during a Hockey match. Julia is a stroke survivor who had to use the KEEOGO to walk again and get her confidence back; she introduces Jessie to the motorized walking device…
« The first time I saw the KEEOGO in 2016, I was very sceptical. How this device was supposed to help me get my mobility back? Since my accident, I wasn’t able to climb the stairs by any other means than crawling them up, and I couldn’t stay on my feet for more than a few minutes in a row. I realized the potential that the KEEOGO could have for me when I participated in the research study at McMaster University, Ontario. They asked me to do some movements by myself, then they asked me to do the same with the KEEOGO. The difference was incredible; with the Dermoskeleton on, I was able to walk further, for a longer period of time, and to build-up my endurance. Finding back my autonomy became the goal that drove me to get in touch with B-Temia and ask them if we could go further into the trial.
The KEEOGO gave me a glimpse of a world where I could replace my bulky wheelchair with a light, motorized and intuitive device that would allow me to walk again, squat down, or even get up on my feet by myself. When I had the chance to get the KEEOGO, I was finally able to provide my family with the help they needed in our family business, and I even went camping and trailing without my wheelchair. My best achievement at the moment was climbing the 113 stairs of the Tobermory Lookout tower to access the view, but I’m sure there will be more in the future! I am the kind of person who loves sharing and hands down knowledge, and I think it’s important that more people know about this motorized walking assistive device, because I know how much it can improve one’s life, as it did with me. Thanks to it, I can keep on playing Hockey, keep on working and stay on my feet, and keep on training people.”