Louis White is a teenager from Wales, he lives with cerebral palsy.
After being told he would never walk, Louis persevered. He can now walk with the aid of a posterior walker. Louis worked hard, with the help of his family and his physio, to expand his freedom and his mobility through the use of his walker, however the limits were soon reached.
Louis approached us with his frustration, he loves the outdoors but the equipment available to him was not up to the task; it did not fully allow him the freedom to be himself.
Members of exyo have been working on a prototype walker for the past 4 years: Designing user-specific features and working with organizations within the University of Sheffield, on the possible future for what has become the ‘Louis Walker’. It is a posterior rollator, giving appropriate support for young people like Louis with cerebral palsy, and remaining fully effective over the rough ground outside.
The Louis Walker already goes some way to increase Louis’ freedom to be mobile, and his freedom to be outside with his friends, however we want to go further. So it is now being taken forward with an inter-disciplinary team of academic researchers and experts from local organizations; with a new social vision on a more global scale:
4 of every 5 people with mobility needs live in developing countries, where everyday living on rough and uneven ground is commonplace. The Louis Walker lends itself perfectly to be adapted to meet needs there; especially as cerebral palsy is by far the most common physical disability in these contexts. In Ghana for example, 1 in 300 births are affected by cerebral palsy (compared to 1 in 500 in the UK). Early diagnosis and immediate therapy are essential for long term management of the condition. Sadly, as few as 1 in 6 people living in this context, receive the assistive device appropriate for them.
We want to help these people: The most disadvantaged people with mobility needs, have the freedom to be independent. We, want to make the Louis Walker, appropriate and accessible for the individuals who need it most; so that it can be implemented in their communities sustainably. It is them the Louis Walker has the potential to mobilize.