About

ReneGait is an extension of the values of its founder, Daniel Campbell. After experiencing his own traumatic injury, he developed a desire to help individuals and families who are navigating life after a serious disabling event or condition. 

ReneGait serves two types of people in the world of neurological rehabilitation, both encountered by Daniel after his spinal cord injury in 2012. 

The first is the individual struggling to attain a better quality of life in the wake of disability. They are dissatisfied with the support system surrounding them, dissatisfied with the amount of therapy insurance will cover, with the grim prognosis their doctor gave, and with the limited range of options, they have to pick up the slack at home. This person knows that their potential is being wasted. They know they could be more independent, healthy, and happy if they were given the right opportunities. ReneGait is our way of creating the right opportunities for everyone sharing this endeavor. 

The second is the medical benefactor whose hands are tied due to financial and technological constraints; it is the physical therapist, trainer, caregiver, relative, and friend who is the quintessential helping hand to the first group. The ordinary PT clinic cannot afford robotic gait training machines, nor do they have the manpower to supplant them. They are forced to simply rule out over-ground gait training and many other activity-based therapies due to difficulty and cost. Many weaknesses in this support system exist despite the enormous supply of human willpower, ingenuity, and compassion. They are caused by a simple and unnecessary lack of affordable and user-friendly tools. 

ReneGait was created to serve both of these groups, and to create tools needed for them to get to a remarkably better state. 



Daniel's Story

Founder

Twelve days after my twentieth birthday I was at my fraternity’s house, spotted a good friend who used to wrestle as I did, and engaged him in an impromptu match. We had done it many times. I like to recall a time I ambushed him late at night leaving the library…I took him down, emptied his backpack on the grass, scattered everything, and ran for safety before he got up. He got me back by flipping a couch I was napping on a few days later. Brotherly love.

This night, my neck broke. It wasn’t immediately clear to me upon hitting the wood floor that I had damaged my spinal cord, or that the trajectory of my life had jerked so far off the path. Not even remotely did I consider the possibility that that moment, that strange instant when the mental awareness of most of my body was replaced with a void, would completely change who I was, cause me to permanently re-engineer my identity.

But it did. I was raised to believe that I could do anything if I worked hard enough. That no matter how bad my situation was, I could always steer myself out of it. Help was nice, but not ever truly necessary. Imagine my psychological terror when, after working to exhaustion for months, I was not recovering. My bedrock became ash.

I reeled. I collapsed. Hope was shone months later in the form of a physical therapist. She showed me around her clinic and discussed with me her treatment protocol. I would later learn she applies what is called “Activity-Based Therapy” principles. At the time, I only understood that she wanted to get me on my feet and walking. I had read that was a good idea, even for people having as little function as I did.

Fast-forward 30 months, I’m stepping in a walker without anyone helping me. I’m stepping without help. I'm not overweight like so many others bound to a chair, my muscles are growing, my sensation improves every day, and my functional recovery is in stride. The day before I moved to Arizona, I set my personal record of walking 198 feet without help.

Fast-forward another 6 months. I haven’t properly gait-trained since arriving in Phoenix. The clinic I go to doesn’t have a robotic machine to get me moving and can’t spare the manpower to assist me over the ground when my legs fatigue. My new best walking distance is about 20 feet. To end this regression, I started designing what would become the Spartan. I needed a cheap, simple tool that one person could strap on me and help me move my legs the correct way in a walker. The first prototype wasn’t pretty, but it worked. And one night, sitting in my room staring blankly at my engineering homework, it occurred to me…this problem I had, this problem I solved for myself, is so common.

It was never my plan to be an entrepreneur, certainly not before I graduated, but a sense of duty overcame me at that time. Love for my fellow humans, compassion for those whose lives are as gnarled as mine, compelled me to create and establish ReneGait; to fundraise, and work full-time while simultaneously studying robotics engineering... full-time.

The words of William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus summed my philosophy in life before I was paralyzed. And they still do, for the most part. There are two differences I have with Henley’s hero. First, my head did bow—I did give up, many times, and I was terribly afraid.
Regressing after the move caused me to fall into a familiar pit of despair once again. But, somehow, for some set of reasons I probably won’t ever identify, I found the courage to exert control over the direction I was headed. Despite it all, I tried again.

I wouldn’t call myself the master of my fate (if that were the case I would be walking…actually, flying). But the victory I had, recovering what was lost, was enough. The momentum of that victory reshaped me for the better. So I'll leave you all with this...

The rest of the story is plastered on this website. Every new piece of evidence I gleaned from research journals, all the anecdotes, pointed to the value in gait training for those who usually don’t walk. Oh, almost forgot, the second difference I have with Henley’s hero?

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