This is the incredible moment a social worker takes her first steps in 14 years – with the help of an £80,000 robotic suit.
Lucy Dodd, from Aldershot, was suddenly struck by a rare congenital malformation of blood vessels and left paralysed from the waist down as a teenager.
But now the social worker, who has been wheelchair-bound since she was 19, can move her legs again through a revolutionary exoskeleton.
In moving footage of her using the bionic contraption that allows paraplegics to stand and move, Ms Dodd can be seen striding out.
The 34-year-old is now desperately trying to raise the five-figure sum for the ReWalk exoskeleton in order to get her mobility back.
She said she was inspired by Claire Lomas, a paraplegic who completed the London Marathon in 17 days in 2012, using the suit.
Recalling her experience with the futuristic suit, which allows users to sit, stand and go upstairs, she said: ‘It was a completely surreal day.
‘It was so amazing, just being able to do the things that most people take entirely for granted.
‘Looking other people in the eye, being able to hug people properly and them not having to lean down over you all the time.
‘The memories of doing those simple things from before I was in a wheelchair all came flooding back and it was very emotional for me.’
Ms Dodd started an English and Linguistics degree at Lancaster University in the autumn of 2002 when her problems began.
Just a few weeks into her first term, she mysteriously started to lose control of her left leg, causing her to trip over and bump into objects.
‘At first it was just a bit unusual, but when it didn’t go away after several weeks I knew there wasn’t something right,’ she said.
‘But being a regular 18-year-old with all these new friends and new freedoms, I didn’t do anything about it.’