His biggest dream is to walk on a beach again someday. And more than that, when he and his girlfriend of the past four years get married he wants to be able to stand in front of the altar.
Andrew Merryweather insists it will happen, even though he’s been confined to a wheelchair for six years. And when his dream comes true it will be thanks to a hi-tech robot suit. The only hitch is the cost.
But the 30-year-old, whose lower body has been paralysed since 2006, isn’t discouraged by the £45 000 (R630 000) price tag attached to the ReWalk Suit.
On the contrary, he’s more determined than ever – because the Israeli-developed smart-tech contraption helps people with a paralysed lower body to stand, walk and even climb stairs.
His life was turned upside down in 2006 when he was assaulted at a petrol station in Claremont, Cape Town, and left paralysed from the waist down.
He’d been an enthusiastic surfer and still lives close to the sea. “It’s torture because I can’t walk on the beach,” he says.
But the suit which looks like something out of the sci-fi movie RoboCop would make it possible again.
“It will bring spontaneity back. I won’t have to call places beforehand to find out if they’re wheelchair-friendly. I’ll be able to climb stairs, walk. My life would be normal again.”
Read more of Lara Atson’s interview with Andrew in YOU 22 November 2012.