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Iron Soldier Takes First Steps Forward

iron soldier

September 17, 2015

In Surrey today, Captain Trevor Greene (retired) took his first steps in front of an assembled crowd, using technology never before used by a patient with traumatic brain injury. Those steps signal a new era for Canadian Veterans and their recovery, as well as people with debilitating brain injuries around the world. Doctors and researchers at SFU became involved in Greene’s journey in 2009, three years after he was viciously attacked with an axe while on duty in Afghanistan.


This first public use of a robotic exoskeleton by a former solider underscored the important collaboration between the Royal Canadian Legion, BC and Yukon Command, the City of Surrey, Simon Fraser University and Fraser Health.


“It was on our recent mission to Israel that we connected with ReWalk Robotics and initiated the resulting collaboration that has made Project Iron Soldier and today’s announcement possible,” says Mayor Linda Hepner, Co-Chair of Innovation Boulevard. “The City of Surrey is committed to working together to help take innovative science and technology ideas off the drawing board and turn them into reality for people like Trevor, and in the process make life better for all of us.”


“Today has been the culmination of many years of hard work by Trevor and Debbie Greene, and a dedicated team of scientists and rehabilitation specialists. We have passed an important milestone in our recovery mission,” says Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, Captain Greene’s neuroscientist and co-chair of Innovation Boulevard. “As Trevor said to his children when he walked for the first time, ‘Daddy’s bionic’.”


The Legion has been instrumental in funding Captain Greene’s journey, and today announced that along with the Institute for Healthcare Innovations, their vision of a new state-of-the-art Legion Veterans Village, a multi-use veterans facility incorporating assisted living, family space, community gardens and a therapeutic centre of excellence.


“The Legion Veterans Village will ensure the Royal Canadian Legion continues to provide vital services for Canadian Veterans,” says Inga Kruse, Executive Director, BC and Yukon Command and Foundation. “Veterans are often perceived as older, but there is a need for services for those who’ve served in recent conflicts, such as Captain Greene, and our members wanted to help in any way they could.”


The anticipated 20-storey Legion Veterans Village is expected to be built on Legion property in Central Surrey.


The Institute for Healthcare Innovations at Innovation Boulevard is a not-for-profit organization based in Surrey B.C., which is spearheading translation of healthcare research and breakthroughs through partnerships and relationships with investors, private enterprise and for-profit corporate entities.


“This is an example of the kind of work we are doing here - work that will have an immediate impact on improving health outcomes for our most vulnerable and important members of society,” says Rowena Rizzotti, Chief Executive of The Institute. “Trevor’s exoskeleton and the Legion Veterans Village both have long-term global implications for the lives of millions through improvements in care and service for Veterans and aging Canadians.”