ONW Student’s Journey to Walking

By Rosie Boswell

Anna Sarol tests out exoskeleton machine.

Olathe Northwest senior, Anna Sarol, is embarking on a new journey this year. Having been paralyzed since freshman year, Sarol’s life has been different from the average student. However, Sarol has recently been introduced to a new trial that has the potential to change her life. At rehab, Sarol was introduced to an exoskeleton. As described by her assistant cheer coach, Ms. Krumbiegel, an exoskeleton is a “mechanism that goes around Anna’s leg and will go all the way up to above her hips to help her with standing.” The ideal result from using the exoskeleton would be for Sarol’s leg muscles to re-familiarize themselves with standing so that she can eventually walk again.

The exoskeleton is an incredible opportunity for Sarol, however the cost was extremely high. But the high cost did not deter anyone from wanting to help Sarol take this opportunity. The solution was to fundraise. Currently, all five Olathe school gymnastics teams are selling chocolate boxes to earn money toward the exoskeleton. Sarol is dedicated to the gymnastics team and their success, going to every practice and meet, so the team saw this as a way to give back to Sarol for her help and dedication.

If Sarol raises the money for the exoskeleton, her life would significantly change. Sarol says that she would “be on [the exoskeleton] right after school and spend as many hours as [she] can using it.” There is a 10% chance that the exoskeleton will result in Sarol being able to walk again, and everyone is trying to help her take advantage of this opportunity in the hopes that she will be able to walk again. Sarol says that “this opportunity definitely means the world to [her] because [she] sees the help and support people are providing for [her] and how determined they are to help [her] get on [her] feet again.” The dedication of teammates, friends, and family could potentially change Sarol’s life and help her walk once again.