Walk to Victory: Meet Robert

The countdown continues! There’s only 3 days left before our 2nd annual Walk to Victory, a 24-hour step-a-thon to raise funds for Magee’s Locomotor Training Program and The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network — and to say we’re pumped is an understatement. Starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, current and former patients and their family and friends will walk on treadmills in our Locomotor Training Clinic for 24 straight hours! Each walker is fundraising to bring greater access to new, activity-based therapies for more patients with spinal cord injury, and everyone has a story to tell.

Throughout the week, we’re going to share a few of those stories with you! Today, meet Robert Ward.

In June 2012, Robert was in an ATV accident in which he sustained a C3/C4 spinal cord injury. While he and his wife Binal were living in the Washington, D.C. area at the time of his accident, after extensive research, they decided Magee – both inpatient and outpatient – was the best choice for him.

About three months into his inpatient stay, Robert began Locomotor Training. At the time, he couldn’t hold up his torso and had very little movement in his legs. When asked what he has gained from LT, he simply says, “The pictures tell the story.”

And he’s right. The video below was taken in September 2012, before he started LT.



And here he is just a year later — after a mile-long walk:


Robert Ward

Robert with his wife Binal (left) and friend and Magee patient Rebecca Levenberg.


“When I started with LT, it was great to get back the sensation of moving,” he said. “As I progressed, it strengthened my torso and upper body, helped me put pressure on my legs, and greatly improved my balance. LT has given me the ability to use a walker and crutches to functionally walk. Today, I hardly use my wheelchair at all.”

But for Robert, the benefits of LT were more than just physical.

“It helped me break down those natural fears of taking steps to move forward,” he said. “LT helped me learn to trust my body, and ultimately helped me regain my independence.”

Robert was an attendee at last year’s event, and he said the excitement was palpable — even after 20+ hours.

“Binal and I got there toward the end of walk,” he said. “You knew the therapists must be tired, but they were so enthusiastic. It was really exciting to see.”

But it wasn’t just the Magee staff. He said the response from current and former patients was unbelievable.

“I think that’s the true test of a rehab center: response from former patients,” he said. “The amount of support shows just how much of a difference Magee has made in people’s lives.”

Today, Robert and Binal are living in New York state, but are making the long trip down to participate in this year’s event. The big difference between this year and last year? This year, Robert will be walking on a traditional treadmill. And we just couldn’t be happier.

Help us reach our goal to provide LT to other people like Robert! To donate to Robert’s fundraising campaign, please click here.

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