A Dublin girl with cerebral palsy who regained her independence using a high-tech body suit has said the technology should be available to more people.
12-year-old Moya-May Kelly was able to walk up the aisle for her confirmation after using the Exopulse Mollii Suit, which stimulates the muscles with electronic pulses.
The suits come in 27 sizes and carry 58 electrodes that can stimulate 40 key muscle groups.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Newstalk reporter Josh Crosbie spoke to Moya-May to find out how it has changed her life.
The Exopulse Mollii suit uses electronic stimulation to help people with muscle conditions.
There are calls for the non-invasive treatment to be given more funding and support.
— Josh Crosbie (@JoshCrosbie3) May 17, 2022
“It’s allowed me to become more confident,” she said “When I walk, it has allowed me just to be more independent."
“Before I had it, I could do certain things but not what I can do now. It’s very important for me to be able to get things and do things like everyone else.
“It’s gotten much easier, especially in school, to be able to write. It has gotten much better; my muscles are looser and it means I’m able to spend a lot more time writing.
“As well, with my legs, I walked up the aisle for my confirmation in front of all the girls in my class and it was the most surreal moment you can have because I felt like I accomplished something.
“I have cerebral palsy but that isn’t me. I have my disability but the more, perhaps, I can put in ,the more my cerebral palsy doesn’t define me. I mean it never did, but when you're given that kind of encouragement from all those people it really does feel very great.”
Exopulse Mollii Suit
Moya-May initially got the suit for a 28 trial and after it was taken away, she immediately regressed.
She was unable to get it funded through the HSE and eventually had to source the €7,800 cost privately.
She urged the HSE to start funding the technology so more people can experience the benefits.
“Listen I know that you can only put certain money to this and certain money to that and you have to pick and choose what’s important and what’s necessary but trust me, from my point of view, it is so rewarding to be able to do these things and make more out of what you have,” she said.
Josh also spoke to Assumption Girls National School Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Jean Bryan who has seen first-hand the progress Moya-May has made since she got the suit.
“We used to do physio with Moya-May we would pull her out of class at about 11:50am and spend that time until she was to go to the yard at 12:40 doing physiotherapy,” she said.
“It was extremely painful for her at times. Her legs used to pop and her joints used to pop and sometimes, if her muscles were very, very hard, it was painful for her to have us stretch them out.
The Mollii Suit has cut all that out because we’ve found that she is much, much more supple. Her muscles are softer and she is able to stretch more.
“There’s no need for us to do it anymore so the great benefit of it is the fact that Moya is now able to stay in her class and join in with her class. She’s not missing that 40 minutes or 45 minutes every day.”
You can listen back to Josh’s full report here: