Amelia's Story


College student has bright future thanks to RIM

College junior, Amelia Sumpter, was diagnosed with lupus when she was six years old. Throughout her childhood, her condition was challenging causing temporary blindness four times, an enlarged heart andAmelia2017 the need to remove her spleen. On December 30, 2015, she wasn’t feeling well and figured her lupus was acting up.

“I passed out on my living room floor. My mom found me and got me to DMC Harper University Hospital. I was so sick; I was put on a ventilator. Doctors had no idea what was going on.”

Eventually, Amelia was diagnosed with a brain infection that caused a stroke. She spent a month in ICU on a vent.  When it was removed, she couldn’t eat, swallow or talk. The stroke affected her right side. She couldn’t stand or walk. 

“I was in and out of consciousness and really depressed because I didn’t understand what happened to me.”

While at Harper, on-site therapists from DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM), started physical, occupational and speech therapy. Two and a half weeks later she was transferred to RIM for inpatient rehab.

“I spent about two weeks in a wheelchair. It was really depressing. And then, my therapist got me using the Ekso robot. I absolutely love that robot.  It changed my life!”

Ekso is a robotic exoskeleton that supported Amelia while she stood to strengthen her legs, control her body and relearned how to walk. Emotionally, it gave her confidence and hope for a full recovery. 

When she was released, Amelia was eating, talking and able to walk with a walker. She is continuing to progress with RIM outpatient therapy, and now walks with a cane. 

“Eventually I want to start driving again, finish school and get a job. There’s no way I would be able to hope for that without some of the amazing things they do at RIM.”