How a Paralyzed Groom Walked Down the Aisle

Matt Ficarra relied on a bionic exoskeleton
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2014 8:16 AM CDT
Paralyzed Groom Walks Aisle With Bionic Exoskeleton
Jordan Basile and Matt Ficarra exchange wedding vows on Oct. 18, 2014, in Syracuse, NY. Ficarra, who was paralyzed in an accident in 2011, used a robotic-like device called an Ekso.   (AP Photo/The Syracuse Newspapers, Dennis Nett)

There weren't many dry eyes when Matt Ficarra walked down the aisle with his new wife, Jordan Basile—and not just because the occasion was his wedding. The Syracuse, NY, man has been paralyzed from his chest down since he broke his neck in a boating accident in 2011. He's been driving seven hours a week to a rehabilitation facility in Allentown, Pa., since April so that he could learn to use a robotic suit called Ekso, which bills itself as "a means for people with as much as complete paralysis, and minimal forearm strength, to stand and walk." His one goal: to walk down the aisle on his wedding day. And he did.

Ficarra stood at his full 6-foot height throughout the 15-minute ceremony using the Ekso with two physical therapists behind him, as Basile said she would love him "whether he is sitting or standing," reports the Syracuse Post-Standard. Ficarra's father and best man added, "He doesn't give up on anything. He's a gem." The newlyweds leave for their honeymoon in Jamaica today, adds the New York Daily News, and friends have set up a donation site at to help raise the funds necessary to get Ficarra an Ekso of his own. (Meanwhile, a bride paralyzed in a freak accident at her own bachelorette party can now become a mother.)

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