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Health Team

Extreme Kitchen Helps Disabled Man Move Around

Posted November 7, 2007 5:05 p.m. EST
Updated November 8, 2007 5:01 p.m. EST

— Many people who have lost the use of their legs lean on new gadgets to give them more freedom to get around.

One Apex man in a wheel chair has gotten back on his feet with an extreme handicapped-accessible kitchen.

Dennis Mast used to lead an active, athletic life. Then in 1992, he learned he had multiple sclerosis - a disabling disease where the body's own immune system attacks the nervous system.

“In 2002, I went back from my office to take a nap and I woke up two hours later and I couldn't walk,” Mast said.

Mast designed his home with wide halls, doorways and open space for his wheel chair. He has various ramps and a specially equipped van.

“[I have] been, since that point, looking to get something better - to get me up and going again,” he said.

Mast, who lives alone, said he hates fast food and prefers not to eat out.

“I like to be able to cook my own meals when I can,” he said.

That's one reason he bought a harness and track system.

“Basically, I designed a system to be able to go from the kitchen to the sink to the stove and the microwave and the ovens and then over into the living room,” he said.

It’s about more than just cooking, he said. It's physical therapy, with a goal.

“[I’d like] to be able to get to the point where I can see myself walking again,” he said.

It may help his upper body strength, and it forces him to use the limited movement in his legs to push around. It's still new to him, but Mast says it's a start.

“At some point, [I’d like to] get enough mobility that I could get up and walk through it and not have to use the track,” he said.

The track system cost Mast $7,000 to install. He paid it all out of his own pocket because his insurance does not cover it.