Local News

Bike Helping People With Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted April 28, 2004

— Spinal cord patients face many obstacles, but many are optimistic they will walk again. A new bike could help them one day reach that goal.

For Tonya Lancaster, getting on a bike -- any bike -- is a victory. She was riding her bike last year when she wrecked, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.

"I went right over the handle bar and landed right on my head," she said.

Lancaster is one of the first patients at WakeMed to use the new ERGYS bike.

The bike is like the one actor

Christopher Reeve

uses and made headlines with last year after reporting he regained some sensation.

"We were very excited that was something our spinal cord patients could use as well," physical therapist Cheryl Cardella said.

The bike moves Lancaster's legs so her muscles do not waste away and provides electrical stimulation.

Lancaster is regaining some sensation in her legs.

"I can feel the muscle underneath actually trying to do it," she said.

Cardella says the ERGYS bike is one more tool that could help spinal cord patients walk again.

"We're not going to slow down. We're going to try everything that comes along," she said.

Lancaster agrees and is determined to do everything she can.

"I feel like I will walk again. I just don't know when," she said.

It also builds endurance. When she started she could do about 45 seconds on the bike. Now, she is almost up to 3 minutes. Her goal is 30 minutes.

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