CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — 750, 000 people in the U.S. have cerebral palsy. It is a disorder that limits movement, making it tough for people to get around.
One of those people here in Champaign got a little extra help with that.
“This is a life-changing event for her. I don’t know if she mentioned she calls it her Bentley,” says Diane Gottheil.
For Diane Gottheil’s long-time friend Jasmine Brown, gait-trainers are the new Bentleys.
Brown has had cerebral palsy her whole life, and was in desperate need of a gait-trainer to help her walk.
She had an old walker for years that was constantly breaking down.
“Certain things as far as like cooking or cleaning would be difficult because…I would have to take a break…when I’m using it because sometimes the screw wouldn’t hold up, or they’d break right in the middle of me doing something,” says Brown.
After the insurance company denied brown a new one, Gottheil stepped in.
She asked a team of mechanical engineering students from the University of Illinois to put their brains to work.
They took on the case as part of a senior project, but this one was a little different from others.
“Instead of having a proposal at the end of the semester , we would have an actual final product to give to someone for them to actually implement into their life, which was just a very cool and rewarding-sounding kind of project,” says student Jamie Sergay.
They spent several months meeting with Brown to find a solution for her. They went with a rollator, which is typically for the elderly.
“We just kind of flipped things around…modified the handlebars…modified the wheels and the legs of the rollator and turned it into a gait trainer.”
Even though the students say this project was a challenge, they learned a lot from it.
They were able to make day-to-day life easier not only for brown, but also for her kids.
The engineering team said they’re also working on making their gait trainer available to anyone who needs it.
they’ll put their planning and design instructions on a website that anyone can access.