In a truly heart warming story, a San Fransisco Bay Area man hikes 2650 miles to raise money for a ReWalk exoskeleton for a stranger! Eugene Yoon from Castro Valley, California, USA soloed the entire Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail that stretches from the border of Mexico to Canada and goes through the states of California, Arizona and Washington, parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Eugene Yoon walked the trail for 6 months alone in a successful bid to raise thousands for a person he has never met, Arthur Renowitzky:
The story of the recipient of the ReWalk, Mr. Renowiztky, began when he was shot by a mugger in San Francisco. The bullet severed his spinal cord and doctors declared that he would never walk again. But Renowiztky wasn’t toppled by this catastrophe, and instead went to find the non-profit Life Goes On Foundation. The foundation speaks out against gun violence and actively encourages new victims of paralysis that “life goes on.” Eugene Yoon, learned about Renowiztky through the foundation and was inspired to help fulfill his dream of walking again. Reportedly, Mr Yoon drew his inspiration from daytime talkshow host Ellen Degeneres and her show’s message to “be kind to one another.”
Special thanks to NBC Bay Area News and Garvin Thomas for covering this story! You can find the original article on their website.
This is not the first case of philanthropy within the exoskeleton industry. Over the past year there have been reports of people raising money for exoskeleton devices and their continual exploitation. Larger non-profit organizations such as SoldierStrong have also purchased and donated rehabilitation exoskeletons in the past. This goes further to emphasize the importance of reducing the cost of exoskeleton devices! The exposure and interest to the technology is greatly increasing, but owning and maintaining a device still costs as much as a new Lamborghini!
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Eyewitness News ABC 7 has an earlier video of Eugene Woon and Arthur Renowiztky meeting for the first time on the Pacific Crest Trail:
MAN HIKING CALIFORNIA TO HELP PARALYZED MAN WALK – ABC7, May 2015
In May, Eugene Yoon was going to walk only the length of California but his route ended up extending all the way to the Canadian border through Oregon and Washington. The GoFundMe page by Eugene alone had over $23,000 as of November 2015.