Marsha’s ALS made her so unsteady on her feet that a traditional walker wasn’t enough anymore to allow her to be safe living independently. She was falling often and had to give up her volunteer work.
Isolated and struggling with depression, Marsha discovered the LifeGlider and felt like she had nothing to lose by trying it. This is her story of reclaiming her life, her joy, and returning to her work touching the lives of hospital patients with the help of a miniature horse named Lily.
How long have you had your LifeGlider?
I got my first LifeGlider in 2018. I’ve had my second one since 2020.
How did you first hear about it?
My friend saw an ad and sent me a link. The price didn’t scare me because I realized I wasted more money on unrelated dumb items, so why not invest in something that might be life-altering?
What made you interested in it?
I could no longer live safely using my walker, rollator, or Upwalker. I had a used wheelchair, and when it quit, I became angry, spiteful, impatient, imprisoned in my own home. The solitude was deafening. My legs and balance were so bad, there were 4-5 monthly 911 calls to pick me up off the floor. What did I have to lose trying it [the LifeGlider]? Absolutely nothing!
What was it like using the LifeGlider for the first time?
I felt like a caged bird set free. I knew immediately this was a wise investment and would change my every waking moment.
How long did it take to get used to it?
It took a couple of days to figure out leg placement for turns, but other than that I was like a duck taking to water.
Do you use it both indoors and outdoors?
Both. More indoor than outdoor, but I feel safe in both environments.
Do you supplement it with other mobility devices around the house? If so, what are they?
I recently got approved for a durable wheelchair, but I use LifeGlider 99.9% of the time.
What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before? Or more easily/safely than you could before?
I can cook, groom our horses, clean stalls, do some yard work, some house cleaning. I can be left home alone, that’s huge! And I can confidently move about the house not being fearful with every step.
You and your partner, Jack, have a miniature horse named Lily you take on therapy visits to hospitals. How does the LifeGlider help?
We’ve been a registered therapy team with www.petpartners.org since 2009. I was doing 1-2 visits weekly, year-round. But by 2016, I got to the point where I couldn’t stand or balance using a walker, rollator, or Upwalker. I had to quit for three years, which crushed me emotionally. I plunged into an angry depression.
We had to ask for permission to be evaluated using the LifeGlider. We both got perfect scores on every exercise. Without the LifeGlider, it would have been impossible to return to volunteer pet therapy work. I’m ever so grateful.
CBS Boston story of Marsha and Jack at Tufts Medical Center in 2016
Why did you get a second LifeGlider?
For three years, Jack got stuck with all barn chores. We thought having a second LifeGlider to leave in the barn would be a good idea so that I could become useful again. I now help clean the stalls, am able to put horses in cross ties and groom them, and don’t have to clean the tires of my other LifeGlider or dust it off for all non-barn chores.
Do you walk with it hands-free?
I did the first 2.5 years, but the ALS has made my legs undependable. When I need to carry anything I tighten the belt, place the majority of my weight on the seat, bend my knees a bit and scoot. That works for me.
What other benefits have you experienced?
Having my life back is a huge benefit. I suspect the LifeGlider has kept my legs moving longer. For sure my outlook on everything is brighter. No more anger, depression, frustration, or solitude — all priceless. In three years I’ve done so much more than I ever expected to be able to do ever again!
What do people say when they see you in it? Are they curious?
I get stopped often and hear people whisper. “Hey, look at that, it looks neat.” I’ve given people my phone number, had them come to my home to try one out. I just saw my neurologist, and she is amazed I’m still able to walk.
What would you say to others like you, who struggle to walk (due to a condition like ALS or any other cause) to know as they consider buying themselves a LifeGlider?
TRY IT. Don’t expect it to solve every issue immediately. Being patient, positive, and having perseverance is key to success. What LifeGlider has to offer that no other walking aid offers is safety and independence. Try it, you’ll love it.
Who do you think should consider getting a LifeGlider and why?
People that use conventional walkers and feel insecure, fearful, anxious, pain from stooping over, or confined should try the LifeGlider. It has changed so many lives. Why not change yours?
We’ve heard so many stories of amazing people like Marsha whose passion and determination have kept them on their feet, doing what they love, with the help of the LifeGlider.
To ask whether the LifeGlider is right for you, or to learn about payment options, contact us today!