NORTH LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – A paralyzed valley veteran is walking again thanks to innovative technology. It’s called the Indego, and it’s an exoskeleton or a pair of robotic legs.
Mark Christianson, 67, was selected to receive a pair.
“I served from 1970 through 1991,” said Christianson, a Vietnam veteran and Green Beret. “It was a sense of community, a sense of friendship and relationships that you won’t build anywhere else.”
Christianson had retired from his life in the military and began plans to settle down with his wife. His plans put on halt after his legs began failing him.
“I felt some tingling in my feet like when your feet go to sleep and then progressively over the years got worse to the point where in 2016 when I would get up and walk...I basically would just fall,” said Christianson.
Doctors explained that he had a tumor in his spine. He would need emergency surgery to remove it but the surgery took away most of the feeling in his legs.
“Being in special operations you accept those types of risks when you go on missions. This was completely different because we had an idea Of what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives.”
Christianson took on a new mission, to walk again, and now he can thanks to the Indego Therapy.
“Ten years ago it was a dream. Twenty years ago it was an impossibility. That’s how far its come so far.”
Tracked with an app, the exoskeleton can track Christianson’s steps, progress, and movement.
“It’s like winning the super bowl all on your own."
But Christianson didn’t want this feeling of independence and freedom to stop with him. He had received therapy at a California VA but pushed to have staff at the North Las Vegas VA trained on the equipment so more local veterans could have a chance to walk with the therapy.
“It opens up the capability for other veterans in this area that would qualify for the program,” he said.
Now he’s focusing on putting his best foot forward.
“Where do I go from here? Sky is the limit. It’s only up. I get to be able to put the machine on, go to dinner, walk with my wife. It’s life-altering.”