A man who has been wheelchair-bound for more than two years says it is a “dream come true” to walk his future wife to be down the aisle thanks to some of the latest technology.
A full-time wheelchair user since April 2013, Simon Kindleysides, 31, of Wortwell suffers from Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), which has left him disabled from the waist down, and is also undergoing treatment for a small benign glioma tumour growing on his brain.
But a heartwarming video of Mr Kindleysides taking his first steps has emerged online over the past week, with more than 1.6 million views. Subsequently, his amazing story has been featured on BBC and ITV News, and in a host of national newspapers.
The video, shot at Physiofunction in Northampton, shows Mr Kindleysides using the Rex Robotic suit.
The manufacturer’s website describes the technology as “the world’s first hands-free, self-supporting, independently controlled robotic walking device.”
Mr Kindleysides told this newspaper: “It was a dream come true.
“Obviously I have had quite a few bad comments from people on the Uni Lad site, saying I was not happy, or I did not look happy, but that was because I was concentrating on what I was doing because I have not walked in two years.
“To be able to lift my feet up and take steps with a machine is incredible.”
Mr Kindleysides has been told he can loan Rex on his wedding day, after becoming engaged to fianceé Hannah Young in November 2013.
“For them to loan it to me means I can sway side to side for our first slow dance.
“That is just priceless.”
Mr Kindleysides said he hoped his story would inspire others who are disabled to achieve.
In July, he will embark on a hand cycling charity trek of more than 400 miles from London to Paris, and has previously applied for talent shows including The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
“When people say you cannot do something, just be more determined to do it.”