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Next Saturday 17th December IdeasGreen will be at parkrun of Milan Parco Nord with a great sportsman and, above all, a champion of determination: Franco Tonoli.
Franco has practiced ski mountaineering at a competitive level for many years without neglecting participation in marathons, then, on 21 September 2012, a very serious accident during a climbing on the island of Kalymnos, in Greece, seemed to have put an end to his sports feats with a terrible verdict: complete paraplegia.
But Franco never gave up and after overcoming the first moments of inevitable despair and depression, he began a long rehabilitation process until he got back on the bike on the triride, a sort of motorized tricycle and handbike, now known to all thanks to the achievements of Alex Zanardi.
Today Franco is committed body and soul to a further and incredible step: walking again thanks to an exoskeleton, a real technology prodigy that he has already been testing for a few months thanks to the trial rental followed by a clinic in Costa Masnaga (Lecco).
The work and practice of Franco onexoskeleton is helping the creators of this incredible tech aid a improve its performance and reliability.
The rental, however, is about to end and Franco would like to buy the exoskeleton able to ensure enormous physiological benefits, especially for cardiovascular, intestinal and bladder functions in addition to perhaps even more important benefits, of a psychological nature!
L'Exoskeletonhowever it is very expensive: around 72,000 Euros and Franco thus opened a website where he presents his story and collects donations from those who want to help him. The address iswww.francorewalk.com and I invite you to visit it to read the details of its history and, if you wish, to contribute with a small donation.
Last week I met Franco thanks to a childhood friend who introduced him to me and I immediately thought of helping him to make his story known to the users of our website and to all my friends who share a passion for sport.
So I told him about parkrun, the now "fixed" appointment in my recurring agenda every Saturday morning at 9 am: one running (or walk for those who prefer) of 5 Km in the green of North Park of Milan where an increasingly close-knit group of friends is forming with new members at each race. ... and so on Saturday 17th Franco will come to visit us to cover part of the route with the parkrunners, thanks to the technology of the exoskeleton and his determination!
Parkrun's main goal is to foster socialization among the participants also offering a meeting point after the race, but there are those who come to beat their PB (Personal Best for the layman) thanks to a beautiful, almost entirely flat route. The times of all the participants are in fact timed and shortly after the race the ranking of the event is sent by email.
Sign up for parkrun it's very simple: just visit the official website www.parkrun.it is register for free. You will then have to print your personal barcode which you will have to bring to each event if you want to get your race time recorded. There registration on parkrun.it it only has to be done once and from the the right to participate in all parkrun events around the world on any Saturday of the year (I remember that it runs every Saturday at 9 am).
The subscribers at parkrun they are beyond 1.9 million, distributed in 14 states of the world. Every Saturday it runs in 1,074 locations!
In Italy it runs every week a Milan, in the North Park (manager Max Fava, meeting in Viale Suzzani 183, at the athletics shop La42.it which provides the changing room and shower service, for those who wish to use them, in exchange for a contribution of 3 Euros), to Palermo in the Uditore and Favorita Parks (where you can run with Giorgio Cambiano, the Country Manager of parkrun Italy!) and a Rimini, in the Marecchia Park (manager Aldo Siragusa). Soon other parkrun events will start in other cities of Italy.
Well, at this point I would say that you just have to sign up and come and visit us! At the Parco Nord in Milan, this Saturday 17th you will be able to meet a great sportsman and a great person. But we are also waiting for you in Palermo or Rimini where you will be welcomed with the same warmth!
I greet you with this video of Franco busy testing the exoskeleton on a beautiful sunny day that we hope to find again next Saturday!
Super Franco Rewalk - video by Mauro Fiorina on Vimeo platform.