26 Sep Reggie Berry – cane-alternate M+D Crutch user, Kansas City
Reggie Berry was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) nearly 10 years ago. Still in his 20s at the time, Reggie lived in Boston and thought he was in perfect health. He had a major onset of mystery symptoms and found himself in the hospital for a week while the medical team tried to figure out what was going on with his body.
“They said I had MS, and I didn’t even know what that was. Then reading up on it, I found out, oh, this is serious.”
Reggie recouped over some time and says he mostly went back to his normal self. Then a year or two later, he had a relapse and now in his early 30s, has had a few relapses since, which he describes as a shutdown/paralysis of his body.
Within the last three years, he’s seen a sharper decline in his health, so he has needed to use some mobility aids. He was using a typical cane, which he still uses in more casual circumstances.
“But what I found is that the cane puts a pretty big strain on my wrist and my forearm,” Reggie said.
Finding the M+D Crutch
Reggie didn’t know of any other alternate mobility aids for his needs. One night at an art crawl in the Kansas City West Bottoms, he happened upon an art exhibit at the offices of Mobility+Designed, the designers behind the M+D Crutch™, which uses elbows to bear weight instead of soft tissue points. He saw a display with the evolution of the M+D Crutch from the original prototype to the current version.
“I thought, ‘What is this? This isn’t art!’ I was offended,” Reggie laughed as he remembered.
As he was viewing the display of crutches, he met Max Younger, the co-founder of Mobility Designed, who invented the crutches for his father.
“Max got to tell me his story that night. We chatted, and I thought it was a cool story. As we walked away, I told my wife, ‘I’ve never heard of anybody writing a thesis and then actually making something out of it.’ It was impressive.”
After that chance encounter, Reggie started thinking more about what his mobility needs were, especially when going to the gym or on longer walks with rough terrain. He visited the Mobility+Designed office again to test out a crutch and liked using it, despite how much bigger it was than the cane he’d been using.
“It’s a machine in how big it is. But it gave me this stability and this confidence that I appreciated to help me really get around. So that felt good. And it was comfortable. I would get serious cramps in my forearms and wrists, but with the [M+D Crutch] that strain with the cane was not there. That pressure was not there. It was very stable. Way more stable than the cane.”
Ever since purchasing his single M+D Crutch, Reggie takes it to the gym four or five mornings per week. And he works out very early in the morning since he works for the Kansas City Public Schools, previously as a high school teacher, and now in the Restorative Justice program he started in 2018.
Reggie’s leap of faith to quit teaching full-time to work part-time launching a never-before-seen program in his school district took a lot of passion for his work. After a successful first year of moving away from punitive measures to more restorative ones to get down to the reasons for the hurt causing students’ conflicts, he is now full-time.
He recognized a similar passion for work in the founders of Mobility+Designed.
“That’s how they caught my attention at the beginning–Max telling me that story about his father and trying to meet his needs. I see the passion of the family, and it’s something I like to support.”