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Paralyzed Adam Gorlitsky of Mount Pleasant calls L.A. Marathon 'greatest experience'

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Adam Gorlitsky (right), who attempted to complete the Los Angeles Marathon using his Exoskeleton, hands one of his 'I Got Legs' shirts to Sydney Fowler, 13, who recently became paralyzed after a staph infection in her spinal cord. Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff

Adam Gorlitsky never accepts anything short of complete success. But while the 32-year-old paralyzed Mount Pleasant man came up short of a bold bid last week to complete the Los Angeles Marathon in his ReWalk Exoskeleton, he is already planning another 26.2-mile adventure.

“Unfortunately, my hand and wrist pain and sleep deprivation got the best of me,” said Gorlitsky, who went 17.2 miles before stopping. “I definitely learned a lot on what I need to do for the next marathon.”

Gortlitsky, a University of South Carolina and Wando High School graduate, was paralyzed from the belly button down in an auto accident while in college. He has already completed the Cooper River Bridge Run 10-kilometer event, the Portland Half-Marathon and parts of several other marathons in which he started at mile marker 20 – all with the help of an Exoskeleton, a device that helps with hip and knee movement.

The Los Angeles course, which starts at Dodger Stadium and ends near the Santa Monica Pier, is particularly challenging. Gorlitsky needed more than 28 hours to complete his 17.2 miles.

“It was a greatest experience ever,” Gorlitsky said. “It was by far the most miles I’ve ever walked.”

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It was also the longest walk for an American in a ReWalk Exoskeleton.

Gorlitsky’s goal is to draw attention through his foundation and event walks to the need for better, less expensive technology for people with spinal cord injuries.

“Since the (Los Angeles) marathon ended, I’ve already heard from so many people asking about the Exoskeleton and fundraising,” Gorlitsky said. “I am so excited about that.”

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

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