New device drastically changes life for one Pittsford woman

Posted at: 01/13/2013 11:23 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

For one Pittsford woman something as simple as walking down the street will never be taken for granted.

It's not something she's always been able to do until now.

For most of her life Blaire White, 28, faced a difficult challenge every day.

She was born with cerebral palsy on the right side of her body. Doctors told her parents she would be deaf, mentally challenged and would end up in a wheelchair.

White proved doctors wrong, but she still goes through a few challenges. She doesn't have to really worry about one in particular, now that a new device has given her a new lease on life.

“I didn't think anything different of it. I always thought it was going to be that way and nothing different,” she said.

White suffered from a condition called foot drop, a result of her cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Because of it, her foot is unable to flex properly, making it difficult for her to walk or go up and down stairs.

“Somebody young like that and she was already having falls. I said we have to do something. As you get older, you can't keep falling because you might injure yourself really bad,” said Joseph Corriea, White's physical therapist.

Almost a year ago Corriea introduced White to a special device that has changed her life.

“I was a little nervous about it. They explained it to me and I was ready to go for it so we gave it a shot,” said White.

It's called the Bioness L300, a relatively new device that has significantly improved her quality of life.

“Once we got the Bioness going that was like dropping a pebble in the water and the ripples started to go out and then she just started to change. We just started to look at other things,” said Corriea.

It all starts with an electric shock. It stimulates the muscle and helps lift the foot all while communicating with a controller around her neck.

The zap was something to get used to, but White says it was a small price to pay.

“I'm good to go. That bit of annoyance is not an annoyance anymore,” she said.

White has been using the device since March and now she's able to do things that she never thought  she would be able do.

“It helps me walk better. I can walk a lot easier and quicker. It's pretty cool,” said White.

It's a change everyone around her sees.

“Since this last year I think she's a new person now and I think the Bioness kind of got that going,” said Corriea.

Physical therapists say the device can also help those who have difficulty walking due to multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury or a stroke, and since it has such a good affect, therapists hope it will gain more attention and hopefully insurance companies will come forward and begin covering it.

White paid for the device out of pocket. She says it was pretty expensive, but worth every penny in the end.