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Device helps patient walk again, so she buys one for Blodgett

Posted at 8:22 AM, Jul 14, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Technology is helping people paralyzed by stroke or spinal cord injuries to walk again. Janette Tazzia can testify to the effectiveness of a device called TRAM: she was able to walk just four weeks after she suffered a brain bleed.

The TRAM, a Rifton transport and mobility device, is now available at Blodgett Hospital thanks to Tazzia.

Tazzia, a landscaper, couldn't move her left arm nor her left leg after the brain bleed. The TRAM, which was on loan, was key to her recovery: it lifts the patient and supports them as they learn to walk again.

And it took just four weeks for Tazzia to be walking again. "This got me walking much faster than I ever thought I would have walked."

The TRAM helps patients "who can’t necessarily grip or use their hands, because it supports through the forearms and elbows," said physical therapist Linda Rusiecki.

"I said you will have one of these before I leave this hospital," Tazzia said.

"Once she saw what it was doing for her, she wanted to be able to help other people," Rusiecki said.

Tazzia and her partner raised enough money to pay for a permanent unit that has now been at the Blodgett rehabilitation unit since March. In fact, they raised more than $9,000, twice the amount needed to buy the TRAM. The rest of the money was donated to the rehab unit.

"I’ve always thought what comes around goes around comes around," Tazzia said.

Now, future patients will get an assist from TRAM.