‘Overwhelmed with joy’: Ripon graduate crosses stage using robotic legs

Born with cerebral palsy, Ella Weiske is mostly confined to a wheelchair
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 6:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RIPON, Wis. (WBAY) - Ella Weiske walked across the Ripon High School graduation stage to accept her diploma... using robotic legs.

“I can feel my feet hit the floor and that just makes me happy!” Ella said. “Just to walk and physically grab my diploma–that’s going to be the best part of my day.”

Born premature, Ella lives with cerebral palsy and spends much of her time in a wheelchair. Crossing the graduation stage on her own two feet is a lifelong dream, made possible thanks to a Trexo device.

“They are robotic legs that get strapped to her legs so the beauty is when she fatigues, when her legs fatigue, when her muscles get too tight, the robots just keep going,” Mother Deb Weiske told Action 2 News.

Ella got a standing ovation from her fellow graduates, their friends and families, as she took those steps.

“I am overwhelmed with joy,” Ella expressed.

As we first alerted you, the robotics came with a $45,000 price tag. Ella’s family started a fundraising campaign on the “Help Hope Live” platform to raise money to buy the device. The Weiske family reached the goal by Christmas of 2022. Come mid-January, Ella started practicing with the Trexo.

Best friend Jenna Konrad is one of Ella’s biggest cheerleaders, watching her journey since kindergarten.

“I knew she’s wanted to walk and I knew she wanted to walk for graduation,” Konrad said. “Just seeing that she actually has it now and all the hard work it took to get to where she is today...- It’s amazing and magical.”

Ella isn’t putting away the Trexo device anytime soon. She plans on walking a lot more.

Her mom said, “We’d love to venture downtown Ripon and just walk and see the stores. We’d like to walk to a baseball game for her brother and just walk in which would be cool.”

With each step, Ella shines in her silver sparkly sneakers.

“She can walk and she has to have these shoes to show that she is spectacular!” Konrad exclaimed.

Watch Ripon High School’s graduation ceremony here.

New technology enables the young woman to use her own feet to move forward