Bionic man Jason tries out robotic legs
By Gina Hobbs
FATHER’S Day on Sunday (June 18) will be all the sweeter for 41-year-old Jason Liversidge from Rise near Skirlaugh. The go-ahead dad who has Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has walked for the first time in two years thanks to sampling special robotic legs.
Jason who was diagnosed with MND in August 2013 is believed to be the first person with Motor Neurone Disease to try out the robotic legs at a specialist centre in Northampton, which is one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist hands-on neurological physiotherapy and rehabilitation technology.
The father of two was privileged to sample a suit with robotic legs which meant that he was able to stand at his full height of 5ft 10 inches and walk. “It was good to be able to stand up and walk. To be up and about was priceless,” said Jason, who is now wheelchair-bound and can only stand for a couple of seconds. The robotic legs are used to help people with spinal injuries.
It was good to see Jason upright, I’d forgotten how tall he is,” said his wife Liz. “We can’t afford the £85,000 the robotic legs cost so I’ve emailed the company to ask if Jason could try them out at home or if we could rent the robotic legs or if they’d loan them,” said Liz. “Jason. can’t do anything for himself. His hands don’t work and he can no longer wash and dress himself, he has gradually declined. But he is continuing to do extraordinary things.”
Jason’s plight has already inspired a woman from Derbyshire to set up a fundraising page to help raise the £85,000 to pay for the legs for Jason after seeing his story featured on the BBC news programme Look North.“£85,000 is a huge amount.
Last year we raised £11,500 for a specially adapted 4x4 wheelchair so Jason can get on to difficult terrain. That took a bit of doing but we raised it in three months, so I’m not sure if £85,000 is achievable but we’re very grateful,” said Liz.
Throughout his illness Jason has been keen to raise awareness of living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and explore how technology can be used to help in a positive way those with MND. He has been able to preserve his voice through technology available at the Anne Rowling Clinic in Edinburgh when it was recorded back in 2015. It meant the clinic could create a voice using Jason’s so he can preserve an integral part of himself and not have to rely on a synthesised voice.
“Jason hopes to climb Mount Snowdon on July 18 weather permitting, using the 4x4 wheelchair. We hope he’ll be able to abseil down the Humber Bridge with fire-fighters from Bridlington who donated their voices for Jason at the voice bank. Jason wants to do the abseil for Dove House Hospice so we’ve got our fingers crossed the Humber Bridge Board will agree,” said Liz.
The couple have two daughters Lilly, 5, and Poppy, aged 4 due to be christened at the church in Rise on June 25.
To back the appeal for robotic legs for Jason go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/caroline-chuter