A MUM who couldn’t stand without falling and had to learn to walk all over again will be stepping out the length of Southend Pier for charity - a feat which will take her eight hours.

Thanks to a ground-breaking clinical trial, Sammy Lane, who suffers with multiple sclerosis (MS), is learning how to walk again after not being able to walk a single step.

Basildon Standard:

Technology - Sammy in the robotic legs 

The 32-year-old, from Southend, was diagnosed in 2007 after experiencing problems with her vision and numbness in her legs.

The birth of her children, just a year apart, triggered a relapse and she was left relying on a wheelchair.

Further relapses meant she struggled to move her legs at all.

Sammy said: “One day I went to bed with a headache and when I woke up I couldn’t move my legs at all.

“Then it happened again, and each time I had to go to inpatient physio rehabilitation to learn how to move again.”

When Sammy was discharged from a stint in hospital after an infection in her legs, she was offered one of 20 places to take part in a coveted trial at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

It aims to use the latest robotic technology to help people living with MS learn how to walk again, and improve balance and posture.

After just five sessions with the Rex robotic exo-skeleton, Sammy can now walk with sticks.

Sammy, whose two children live with their dad due to her condition, added: “It’s been an amazing transformation. I haven’t been able to get upstairs at home since the beginning of last year, or to get up from the floor, and now I can do both.

“My next challenge is to walk Southend Pier. I think it will take me about eight hours but I’m determined to do it this summer.

“My children have been amazed by my progress and were so stunned the first time I showed them I could walk.”

The Rex robotic exo-skeleton allows the patient to focus on strengthening core abdominal muscles.

They can practise using these muscles while moving from sit to stand, as well as lifting arm weights and throwing and catching a balloon.

Sammy added: “It’s hard work, and you have to constantly remember to switch on your core muscles.

“But I think I learned more in an hour as part of the trial than I did in two months in physio rehab.”

Dr Sakel, neuro-rehabilitation director and consultant at East Kent Hospitals, said: “It has been wonderful to see Sammy progress during her sessions with us, and to have the unique opportunity with this trial to help people make a real difference to their lives.”