Date
19 August 2017
Lai Chi-wai says has been trying to get in touch with the manufacturer of robotic legs for the past five years and was surprised when it finally reached out to him. Photos: Facebook/Chiwai Lai
Lai Chi-wai says has been trying to get in touch with the manufacturer of robotic legs for the past five years and was surprised when it finally reached out to him. Photos: Facebook/Chiwai Lai

Paralyzed climbing champion vows to get back on his feet

One less mountain to conquer, one more to climb.

Paraplegic rock climber Lai Chi-wai has launched a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of robotic legs after its US manufacturer agreed to sell him the prosthetics. 

Lai, who grabbed world headlines on Dec. 9 by conquering Lion Rock in a wheelchair, said the price tag is HK$3 million (US$386,465), Headline Daily reports.

He said he had been trying to get in touch with the manufacturer for the past five years and was surprised when it finally reached out to him.

Lai said the total cost could hit HK$4 million including training in the US and various procedures.

The amount is out of his reach with a wife and a four-year-old son to support.

But netizens are mobilizing to help Lai via crowdfunding.

On Thursday, however, Lai said he would like to raise the funds by himself by hosting seminars and doing commercial events, adding more people are in more dire need than he is.

Lai is also cooperating with the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Biomedical Engineering Program in the development robotic legs.

Professor Raymond Tong said robotic legs are mostly designed for patients who have had a stroke but in the future, the technology could evolve to help paralyzed patients.

Lai, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a 2011 car accident, said the development of locally designed and manufactured robotic legs will probably take five to 10 years. 

He said is working out arrangements with the US manufacturer with a lot of issues still pending.

But one thing is certain, Lai is determined to find a way to get back on his feet.

Paraplegic shows heart of champion in Lion Rock feat (Dec. 12, 2016)

– Contact us at [email protected]

EL/AC/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe