CHARLESTON, SC – There were innumerable memorable moments from Saturday’s Cooper River Bridge Run; but there are two participants’ stories that will be remembered for years to come.
After suffering debilitating accidents earlier in life, Marka Danielle Rodgers and Adam Gorlitsky both finished the race using robotic exoskeleton legs to help them get across.
10 years ago, Adam was injured in a car accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down.
But Saturday, he became the first ever paraplegic to complete the 6.2 mile Cooper River Bridge.
Adam told News 2, “It started in mid-August; maybe 6 1/2 months, seven months later….here we are!”
Gorlitsky’s journey has been an inspiration to millions of people around the world.
“I’m feeling great! I’m just in the zone,” explained Gorlitsky as he walked up the steepest incline of the Ravenel Bridge.
With the help of friends, family and his “I Got Legs” team, he finished what he set out to do; arriving at the Charleston Maritime Center just before 2:20 p.m. “I really truly feel like this is the first step, no pun intended, the first step to the rest of my life.”
Another inspiring story of a conquered Cooper River Bridge challenge came from long time ballerina and breast cancer survivor, Marka Danielle Rodgers.
Rodgers suffered two spinal cord accidents – one in 1994 and another in 2012 – which left her an incomplete quadriplegic.
Years of rehab and determination have led her to the bridge.
After getting to the center of the bridge, winded and gasping for air, Rodgers looked to the sky and pointed her index finger upwards. News 2 asked what she was thinking, “…a little bit of everything. Thank you to the world that is greater than me. I’m just really grateful right now. Thank you!”
Rodgers says it’s not about the challenge; it’s about raising awareness of what is possible.
Rodgers has a strong voice in the community to promote accessible parking and access to public venues.