Paraplegic takes part in Disney Marathon Weekend

Adam Gorlitsky, 30, is paralyzed from waist down

By Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - His attitude is contagious. His tenacity is inspiring. Adam Gorlitsky, 30, is participating in this year's Disney Marathon Weekend's Dopey Challenge.

It's not uncommon for thousands of people to run it. But what makes Gorlitsky different from the rest is that he's paralyzed from the waist down.

"When I'm in this exoskeleton, I don't really feel able-bodied, but I don't really feel disabled anymore," Gorlitsky said.

Gorlitsky was in a car accident when he was in college. As a result of the crash, he used a wheelchair for 10 years.

"You know, the doctors pull all these MRIs, ultrasounds, X-rays up on the board, you know. They say, 'Look, you're never going to walk again.' You know, it's a real rock bottom kind of moment," Gorlitsky said.

In July 2015, he was introduced to the exoskeleton. He straps himself into the device and it serves as his moving legs.

"When I stood up, everything just made sense," Gorlitsky said.

Gorlitsky calls his exoskeleton Betty Carlton: Betty for his strong-willed grandmother and Carlton, with his memorable dance moves, from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

"I tell people that the spirit of my grandmother is going to allow me to do the Carlton dance one day," Gorlitsky said.

Gorlitsky, who was an avid athlete while growing up, immediately knew he wanted to get moving. He walked his first race in Charleston, North Carolina, this past April.

Less than a year later, here he is taking part in all four races this weekend. In the end, he'll have raced a total of 13 miles. But for him, there's a bigger picture.

"The goal is to raise a dollar for every step that I take. It will go towards the I Got Legs foundation, which will then go towards helping other paralysis victims pay for their walking devices," Gorlitsky said.

Gorlitsky created the nonprofit to help others pay for the exoskeleton suit, which costs approximately $80,000.

His current goal is to reach 1 million steps. So far, he has a little more than 70,000.

Anyone who would like to follow Gorlitsky on his journey or learn more about the I Got Legs foundation can visit the links below:

IGotLegs.org
Facebook Page
Twitter Account

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