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Groom walks down the aisle for wedding

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 05 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 07 2013 06:47:42 PM CDT

Groom walks down the aisle

LYNN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

One paralyzed groom was able to walk down the aisle Saturday afternoon -- thanks to some groundbreaking technology.

"Today's my wedding day," said Dan Beers minutes before his wedding.  "I've been engaged for only seven years -- not long."

But for Beers, walking down the aisle almost didn't happen.

"Eleven years ago, I was just riding home from a friend's house, and I didn't make a turn in the road and the front end popped up," he said.  "And I ended up barrel rolling with the motorcycle and broke 11 vertebrae in my back."

The crash left Beers in a wheelchair, but now, thanks to this device called an "Exoskeleton," he stood next to his bride Saturday afternoon.

"It helps stand Dan up," said Nicole Smith, Beers' physical therapist at Good Shepherd Hospital.  "It moves him in a normal walking pattern for him to do multiple steps at a time."

"It makes me feel 'me' again.  Not that I'm not me; I'm still me, nothing has changed," added Beers.  "Just that feeling of standing there and looking into her eyes … It's as if I'm not paralyzed anymore."

So what's next for Dan Beers?  Right now, he can only use the exoskeleton while he's in therapy, but that could one day change.

"They're trying to come up with a unit that they can use at home -- still working on that," said Smith.

As for Beers, he's not giving up the fight.

"There's miracles all the time," he said.  "You never know-- maybe another five, ten years from now, I could be walking."

It's a battle he's waging, literally, one step at a time.