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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Faith sustains woman’s WalkAide mission

BY Linda Chion Kenney
Special Correspondent 
Published: June 24, 2015

RIVERVIEW — Ask Daisy Vega what it’s like to live with multiple sclerosis and she’ll talk about the blessings of life and the brilliance of the WalkAide System that allows her to counter the foot drop associated with her condition.

“Imagine yourself with a 50-pound foot,” said Vega, a Riverview resident and member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon, among her many other community associations. “You’re trying to lift this foot up to take your next step. You’re trying to remember to walk and balance yourself at the same time. People with foot drop have to be careful with balance.”

Balance is a good word to use in describing Vega’s outlook for living a life with MS, an autoimmune condition that affects the central nervous system, causing problems with vision, balance, muscle control and other basic body functions. For 20 years she felt numbness in her feet and a tingling in her hands. She went blind temporarily in each eye 
at different times. Many times she couldn’t walk, the pain too great in her spine.

Not until 2001 would a doctor confirm her suspicions, that she had MS, and her reaction was one of relief.

“My doctor told me he wished every person he diagnosed with MS had my spirit,” Vega said. “I told him, you know, I’ve had this for 20 years so God has used me to be strong about this. And now I have the opportunity to educate other people about MS.”

Soon that turned into a mission to spread the word about a device that helps people with foot drop walk a more normal life. With determination, and a deep-rooted faith, Vega set about to ensure that anyone who needs one can secure a WalkAid device of their own.

The WalkAide online is billed as a “revolutionary, FDA-cleared medical device that leverages functional electrical stimulation to improve (the) walking ability of people living with foot drop.” The device, worn right below the knee, is reported to be beneficial for people with foot drop resulting from brain or spinal diseases or trauma, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or cerebral palsy.

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