LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – “I’m ready when you are!” Cardinal Hill physical therapist Kori Ivanchak said as she began her session with domestic abuse victim April Ballentine.
Ballentine and Ivanchak have been working with a device called the ReWalk exoskeleton since July.
“On a scale of one to ten, that’s a 20,” Ballentine said. “It’s hard. It’s very hard.”
She is learning to walk again after being paralyzed in 2013. Her ex-boyfriend shot her five times.
“I was actually laying on the floor, and he stood over me and shot me,” she said.
Ever since that horrible day, she’s been determined to stay strong, proving that life can go on after a spinal injury and after domestic abuse.
“It’s your choice and your decision to move on and change that aspect of life and live in a better place than you were,” she said.
Ballentine is also driven by a specific goal: to walk her daughter, Autumn, down the aisle with the exoskeleton, but without the help of physical therapist Kori Ivanchak.
“To be able to walk with her,” Ballentine said in tears. “I can’t. Sorry. I can’t explain.”
The wedding date is set for November 12.
“We have this deadline that we’re working toward, and I think we’ll get there,” Ivanchak said.
It’s still a priority for Ballentine, Ivanchak and other patients like Rob Portwood. He pushes her as she pushes him. He is also learning to walk again after a stroke in June.
“To see what she’s been through and where she is today and the goal she has set for the next month, all you can do is push yourself because if she can , anyone can do it,” Portwood said.
This is also the message that Ballentine wants to convey.
“It’s not about me,” she said. “None of this is about me. It’s about being able to show the world that it’s possible.”