On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the Santa Fe New Mexican ran a story, “Bionic Suit Allows Paralyzed Santa Fe Man to Walk Again,” about SF native Xavier Prater Horan adopting the ReWalk exoskeleton robot. Horan had been paralyzed in a car accident at age 16. Now 33 years old, Horan is the second New Mexican to get a ReWalk, invented in Israel by Amit Goffer and others. The company, ReWalk, Ltd, is based in the “green” town of Yokneam (near Haifa), and is now being sold worldwide. It received FDA clearance in the US in 2014.
From SFMEW’s perspective, apart from the great benefit bestowed on Horan for being helped by an Israeli invention, the interesting part of this story is that the New Mexican did not mention the ReWalk’s origin. Now this is not necessarily an oversight – often the origin of an invention being applied to an individual in a human interest story does not mention the country of origin (and the origin is mentioned in the video found on the New Mexican website). However, this is an opportunity for you and all members of SFVFI to participate in our third objective: to educate the Santa Fe community about the many benefits New Mexicans enjoy from inventions from Israel, and to publicize the positive economic ties that already exist and could be strengthened between Israel and New Mexico.
Santa Feans, New Mexicans, all Americans, and the world benefits from hundreds of inventions from Israel. Some of the top inventions were highlighted a few years ago at an exhibit at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem. Other inventions and scientific discoveries of note from Israeli engineers and scientists can be found here, like the USB flash drive (thumb drive); drip irrigation; IBM and Intel microprocessors that power our smart phones, tablets, and computers; instant messaging, advances in voice mail, and Waze, the best navigation system for cars available worldwide.
This is an opportunity to highlight how New Mexicans benefit from the very positive work Israelis do to advance the science and technology.
- Write a letter to the editor of the New Mexican thanking them for the Horan ReWalk special interest story, and thanking Israel for this wonderful invention that brings greater mobility to paralyzed individuals in Santa Fe and worldwide.
- Submit an op-ed that highlights more of the great inventions from Israel and how the US, Santa Fe, and the world benefit from the innovations from Israel.
Here’s how to do it:
Writing a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed piece (“My View”) to the Santa Fe New Mexican. This is directly from the SFNM’s site:
You can write a letter once a month or one My View every three months. We require the letter writer’s name, address and phone number to be considered for publication. We also encourage writers to include a photo of themselves.
Send letters and op-eds to: firstname.lastname@example.org Any questions? Call 986-3063.
Tips on writing effective letters to the editor and op-ed pieces can be found on the SFMEW Resources page.
If you’d like help in reviewing a draft of your letter or op-ed before you submit it, send it to email@example.com with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to Betsy Ehrenberg for chairing SFMEW’s Economic Development Committee, and for her hard work in promoting links between New Mexico and Israel. If you have suggestions for her, please email email@example.com.
Update, April 7, 2017:
Rewalk contracted with the US VA system (from their press release):
ReWalk Robotics Ltd. (Nasdaq: RWLK) (“ReWalk”), leading manufacturer and producer of exoskeleton systems, announced today that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) purchased 28 ReWalk Personal Exoskeleton Systems to support an ongoing national multi-center clinical trial. ReWalk confirmed shipment of 20 systems to the VA in the first quarter of 2017; the remaining eight systems from this purchase will be shipped in the second quarter of this year.