1700 Miles in 28 Days: Father and Son Run for CP Awareness

By: Clint DeRoze

Via: Valley News Live

1700 miles in 28 days.

That’s the goal of Shaun Evans and his son Shamus.

Shamus was born with cerebral palsy, making it difficult for him to move freely.

When his parents first heard the news, they were worried about what this meant for their son going forward.

“We were concerned that he wasn’t going to be able to do everything. But whatever way we could make it happen so that he could participate as fully as he could, we were going to do that” says Shaun.

And Shamus did more than even they could imagine.

“He skis in the winter and he horseback rides and he plays adaptive sports and obviously running and we do triathlons together so Shamus continues to dream big and we work to make those dreams a reality,” says Shaun

Last year, Shaun and Shamus ran from coast to coast participating in 5Ks all along the way.

This year, they have a new goal.

Starting here in Moorhead, the pair plans to meet up with the Mississippi river and go all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico.

While Shaun has always been supportive, Shamus has been the driving force behind this initiative.

“Shamus is the man behind the mission. I’m the legs, but he’s the dreamer,” says Shaun

“He wants to be involved as much as he possibly can. Even though his legs don’t work like mine do, I have the opportunity to lend him my legs.”

Along the way, they’ll be handing out specially designed chairs so people like Shamus can be as active as they want to be.

The pair ran in support of Ainsley’s Angels, a national organization that helps pair disabled runners with those specially designed chairs.

Shaun and Shamus will now be on their way to Detroit Lakes for the next leg of their journey.

Delhi Kid with Cerebral Palsy Inspires Iron Man Style Suit for the Disabled

By Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Via Hindustan Times

Photo Courtesy: Trexo Robotics
cerebral-palsyA Delhi child with cerebral palsy inspired the development of the first commercial exoskeleton for children with disabilities by two young Indo-Canadian engineers.

Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi, both 26, who first met as students of mechatronics engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, have set up the fledgling start-up, Trexo Robotics, to roll out the exoskeleton.

Maggu, born in Chandigarh, was influenced by the film Iron Man, and robotics was “a natural pull”. Initially, he looked at building an upper body exoskeleton as a side project during his years as an undergraduate.

However, his project turned personal after his Delhi-based brother Upinder’s son Praneit was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a disease that greatly impairs motor function.

“I found out my nephew has cerebral palsy and he might never be able to walk. That really pushed us to consider our purpose as mechatronics engineers. And it became the motivation for us to build something for my nephew,” Maggu told Hindustan Times.

Maggu and Udasi bonded and roomed together and subsequently moved to Toronto, where Maggu completed an MBA at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management while Udasi finished a Master’s in Robotics.

Now, with an office located in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, they will formally release the device this quarter.

The two decided to build the exoskeleton around a walker that the child used in India after spending last summer at Upinder’s house in Delhi .

“Last year we watched my nephew taking his first steps using our device. It was an incredibly proud moment. It was proof of concept that showed us this can work,” Maggu said.

“Our current version is the final version that children will be able to use, while there are some features we want to add in the future,” Udasi said.

The exoskeleton and the metal and plastic-based casings for the legs are powered by batteries and help ease the process of walking for a child.

“It’s a robotic device that can provide the child with rehabilitation and mobility,” Maggu said.

Often disabled children get tired easily and develop an awkward gait. ReX is intended to address that.


Modified Toy Cars Blend Fun and Physical Benefits for Kids with Disabilities

By Carolina Henriques

VIA Cerebral Palsy News Today

Photo Courtesy of Lil’ Rhody Riders

Lil’ Rhody Riders, a student project at the University of Rhode Island, is modifying toy cars so they can be operated by children with disabilities like cerebral palsy (CP) to enjoy mobility, freedom and fun, just like any other kid.

Lil’ Rhody Riders was launched in 2015 by Sandra Maliangos and Coral Hines, then URI doctoral students in physical therapy. Each year, two new students take the lead. This year, the project is being led by Annie Kostenbauer and Cara Pineau, also doctoral students in physical therapy.

They are designing and building four cars with help from three biomedical engineering students, Miranda Mitchell, Alaa Eid, and Celia Dunn. The first car is being built for a boy with cerebral palsy and the project is challenging for many reasons.

“His legs and arms have trouble bending, and he’s very tall and thin,” Kostenbauer said in a URI news release. “He can’t fit in the car, so we made a seat on top of it.”
The students began by assessing the child’s flexibility, strength, motor skills, and range of motion. They also talked with the parents about their goals for the child’s development.

The two PhD students noted that getting the car to work was more important than just for the child to play with, as it should also have therapeutic benefits.

“The main goal [of this car] would be to get him to develop the flexion to bend his knees and his elbows,” Pineau said.

With the help of the biomedical engineering students, the team was able to create a special push-button that acts as a gas pedal, which is helpful for children who have better control with their upper body. The button makes the car break automatically as soon as pressure is released.

Unlike joystick-controlled vehicles, push-buttons can help children who lack normal dexterity turn a wheel. Lateral supports help guarantee the child’s safety and bolster the trunk and pelvis of children.
Of the three remaining cars, one is for a boy with spina bifida, and the other two will be given to Meeting Street in Providence, a nonprofit organization that provides educational services for children with special needs.

The students organized a Lil’ Rhody Riders’ Day of Play to get children behind the wheel for the first time. The program will be publicized on their Facebook page and rely on donations to purchase the cars, which cost between $200 and $400.