I, admittedly, have not been to a Creative Mornings Charleston (CMCHS) talk in several months. The reason why is totally selfish — I have a Friday morning yoga class I like to go to. Working out is important to me and I have both the choice and the capability to attend my favorite classes.
Those two things — choice and capability — are things I take for granted every day. You probably do too. Adam Gorlitsky? Not so much. He knows exactly the value of both choice and capability, specifically mobility, when he straps into his ReWalk Robotic Exoskeleton a.k.a. Betty Carlton, that help his paralyzed legs move. The $85,000 exoskeleton is named after Gorlitsky’s late grandmother and his favorite Fresh Prince of Bel Air character, Carlton Banks.
At age 19 Gorlitsky fell asleep at the wheel while driving home to Charleston to visit his family for New Years. Thrown into the backseat of his car, Gorlitsky suffered a T9 spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the belly button down.
When Gorlitsky was introduced to a ReWalk Exoskeleton in 2015 he says that his world shook; a new door was opened. Through fundraising and events (you’ve likely seen Gorlitksy at Charleston road race or two), Gorlitsky is raising money to pay for Betty Carlton, and to help fund what he calls the reenabling of those who are differently abled. This is how his nonprofit, I Got Legs, lays out its mission:
OUR CAUSE: What it means to be disabled vs. able-bodied.
OUR MISSION: To reenable members of the disabled community and the towns and cities they live in.
OUR GOAL: To bridge the gap between what it means to be disabled vs. able-bodied.
Gorlitsky’s story is compelling, yes, but it is compelling not just because he is changing the way people think about mobility. It is compelling because he is living these changes as they happen — we are hearing from him in the middle of his story, not at the beginning, or the end. As much as we can be, we’re parts of his story, too. He’s also a kickass public speaker, which never hurts.
You can donate to I Got Legs at igotlegs.org. There, you can also stay up to date with Gorlitsky’s ReEnabled Race Tour, which he launched earlier this year and plans to bring to more races in Charleston. While on this race tour he will raise $1 for every step he takes to officially establish the I Got Legs: ReEnabled Racing Circuit for ReEnabled Athletes and their friends and families.
And if you can, make the choice to sign up for a free CMCHS morning lecture. You may hear from someone who makes you think twice about those things you take for granted.
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City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.