- Associated Press - Sunday, January 21, 2018

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - He was paralyzed in a hunting accident and was told he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Now he has the priceless gift of hope, but it comes with a fair share of complications including a hefty price tag.

Two years ago Corey Zielinski was told there was something that could get him out of his wheelchair and walking, but that one thing was too expensive for him to afford.

“I’ve been sitting for too long. I want to walk again. It’s as simple as that,” Zielinski told WNEM-TV .

Oct. 4, 2009 is the day that changed his life forever. Zielinski fell 25 feet from his deer blind. He was rescued by his stepson and first responders, but he would never be the same.

“I knew the very next day I wasn’t able to walk again. So it went over night. It was one day I was walking and the next day I’d never walk again,” Zielinski said.

He lost feeling from his waist down and now he uses a wheelchair to get around.

Two years ago doctors gave him a new option called ReWalk. The robotic exoskeleton helps people with spinal cord injuries walk again.

Zielinski tried it out with his daughter Emma by his side. It was the start of an emotional journey.

“It just brought back memories of watching her take her first steps. Now she’s watching me take my first steps,” Zielinski said.

The bionic legs cost $80,000. Zielinski tried to get approval from his insurance company, but he was denied.

When he finally secures the money to support his bionic legs, he said he will start doing some of the things he misses the most - like simply walking down his front porch.

The moment he looks forward to the most is with his daughter. It’s a moment he never thought would be possible, but now it is thanks to ReWalk.

“I’ll be able to walk her down the aisle, you know? I won’t have to wheel down the aisle with her. I can walk her down the aisle and talk to her face to face,” he said.

He said the father-daughter dance will take some practice.

Zielinski will never stop fighting for his bionic legs. He said it’s not a matter of if he will get them, but when and how.

“I’m grateful that I just lost my ability to walk, but I have that ability to do it again. And that’s what I’m striving for. That’s the end all be all,” Zielinski said.

___

Information from: WNEM-TV, http://www.wnem.com


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