My name is Joshua Vila, on January 20th, 2013 I was involved in a motor vehicle accident where another driver struck my car. The driver was never found and I became paralyzed from the waist down. I ended up over turning my car fracturing 5 vertebrae in my spine, breaking three ribs, and my left arm. I lost 80 percent of my blood, spent 39 days in an induced coma, and 3 months with a tracheotomy and feeding tube. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink water, losing 70 pounds, and had to relearn how to eat and speak again.
I was told I should have died on impact and that it was a miracle that I’m still alive. It’s been a long road to recovery. As a paraplegic with a spinal cord injury for the past 8 years, I had to learn to adapt to live life independently. I learned to drive with hand controls, how to stand with leg braces, and how to walk with robotic legs called Rewalk. I went back to work for Acme Markets and have been working as an essential worker to serve my community during this pandemic. I went to college to receive my Associates of Science from Atlantic Cape Community College majoring in Business Administration. I graduated with high honors with a 3.9 GPA and transferred to Rutgers Camden where I am majoring in accounting. I help speak to paraplegics who have become newly injured to guide them on this journey moving forward; sharing my experiences and resources.
I’ve also become a motivational speaker for the disabled community in my free time, speaking at events promoting the Rewalk, and have helped find donors to purchase the device for Bacharach Rehabilitation, so others in my position can have a chance to benefit from the device as I have. Unfortunately, my insurance won’t pay for this device that helps me walk again. I started my paralysis as a complete injury and through using this device In therapy my paralysis has improved and I have regained back some function in my body and slight sensation. I have been unable to use the Rewalk since July of 2017 where I demonstrated the device at Stockton’s Ability Fair.
To donate to Joshua's exoskeleton CLICK HERE