Amanda Boxtel, founder and executive director of Bridging Bionics, walks in a bionic exoskeleton suit at the Snowmass Club. Boxtel sustained a spinal cord injury from a skiing accident in 1992.
In Snowmass, miracles happen every day. This past October, the Bridging Bionics Foundation (bridgingbionics.org) celebrated its five-year anniversary of bringing hope and success to those who strive to walk once again. In more than 7,500 physical therapy sessions (and counting), the Basalt-based nonprofit has gifted the miracle of mobility to its clients with neurological challenges. “I’m just so proud that we’ve been able to sustain the program, thanks to the unwavering support of our community in every sense,” says the foundation’s founder and executive director, Amanda Boxtel (amandaboxtel.com).
Boxtel has faced her own challenges since suffering a permanent spinal cord injury in a skiing accident in 1992. From that moment, she has been dedicated to helping others with similar mobility issues live their best lives. First as a founder of Challenge Aspen (challengeaspen.org), and today with Bridging Bionics, she has impacted lives and created pathways for people to improve their outcomes and often experience the joys of walking. To applaud and recognize her tireless work, Boxtel was honored as a 2018 CNN Hero.
The linchpin of the organization’s success has been the use of state-of-the-art advanced technologies, which include an array of assistance devices ranging from a Galileo whole-body vibration system to bionic exoskeleton suits. These suits allow clients— afflicted with compromised ambulatory function due to neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury, stroke and other neurological disorders or diseases—to actually stand and walk with robotic assistance. “I attribute the ability of our program to maintain and help clients regain mobility to our unique combination of advanced technologies, alternative therapies and performance training programs,” says Boxtel. “Really, it’s unlike any program in the world.”
Operating out of nonclinical facilities in the Snowmass Club and Midland Fitness in Glenwood Springs, the Bridging Bionics team of trained therapists and dedicated volunteers have created individualized therapeutic programs for more than 300 clients. And, remarkably, all of this is provided for little to no cost to those clients in need.
In October, as a harvest moon rose over Aspen, Bridging Bionics held a virtual fundraising gala to support its mission. More than $300,000 was raised through the generosity of committed donors. “Our donors believe our program ignites hope and possibility in our community and gives us support to continue our mission of bringing mobility to those in need,” says Boxtel. “It shines a light on our program.”
Photography by: SUMMERS MOORE