Spinal Cord Injury: Taking Matt Ficarra BEYOND LIMITS

On October 18, 2014, in Syracuse, New York, Matt Ficarra married Jordan Basile. In some ways, it was a typical wedding. The couple was surrounded by family and friends as they exchanged vows and sealed them with a kiss.

In other ways, the couple’s wedding was anything but typical. The groom, left paralyzed from a boating accident in 2011, was wearing a robotic exoskeleton and flanked by two physical therapists from Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network. The device enabled Matt to stand during the ceremony and later to walk his bride down the aisle. The therapists were a safety net – a precaution that Matt didn’t need.

A former college lacrosse player, Matt has the mindset of competitive athlete. He believes that you set a goal and train hard to achieve it. When Matt learned about the exoskeleton, he set a goal – to walk down the aisle at his wedding.

Matt researched the technology and learned that Good Shepherd was the closest rehabilitation facility with the robotic device (that was not restricted to veterans’ use). Although Allentown, Pennsylvania, was a 3 ½ hour drive from his home, Matt made the commitment to do whatever it took to reach his goal.

For seven months, Matt made a weekly pilgrimage to Good Shepherd for therapy sessions with the Ekso bionic exoskeleton.

“We were pretty confident after his first sessions that we could get him walking down the aisle,” said Frank Hyland, vice president of rehabilitation services at Good Shepherd.

That they did. On the couple’s wedding day, after Matt and Jordan reached the end of the aisle, the DJ played Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” in celebration of Matt’s milestone.

Matt pushed beyond the limitations of his spinal cord injury and wed his bride while being able to look at her at her eye level. The experience left Matt grateful for the support of the therapy team at Good Shepherd.

“They put me at ease while making me feel like a part of their amazing culture at Good Shepherd,” said Matt in an interview for Today.com. “I started there as a patient, became great friends and we are now family. I will forever be in their debt as they truly made a dream come true!”

See Matt and Jordan exchange vows and walk down the aisle on Syracuse.com.

Read the full interview with Matt and his therapists on Today.com.

To learn more about how Good Shepherd’s programs and services and help you push BEYOND LIMITS, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us online today.