Phoebe Samba Dancers spice up the Freedom to Walk Foundation’s Seventh Annual Carnival Gala at the Marriott Tampa Airport. Pictured are Founder and President Daisy Vega, and 2019 Board Director Emily Zmoda and Mistress of Ceremonies Jenn Holloway-Bingham.

Seven years ago, Tampa Bay area resident Daisy Vega made history when the Freedom to Walk Foundation officially became a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit. The organization helps children and adults experiencing foot drop caused by multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, a stroke, a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury to obtain a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device to help them to walk.

Daisy Vega, who has multiple sclerosis and foot drop—a weakness of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of her foot which causes foot and toe dragging or high-step walking—has been able to walk freely again thanks to the WalkAide®, a functional electrical stimulation device that is worn on the calf and sends electric impulses to the foot, causing the foot and leg to lift and follow through as they would with a natural, unimpaired gait.

With an out-of-pocket cost of $2,950 per unit, not currently covered by most insurance, the cost is prohibitive for many who see the FDA-approved WalkAide® as an invaluable opportunity to improve the quality of life.

Through education, inspiration and empowerment, the Freedom to Walk Foundation has helped hundreds. For the past galas, a total of seven WalkAides® have been gifted to children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, visual impairment, brain tumors and strokes, to name a few.

“They are putting their footing in the world,” said Vega of the assistance given to all the recipients who have benefitted from a WalkAide® with the help of the foundation and its seven galas. “Every dollar donated equals a step towards helping someone to walk with their own WalkAide®.”

To continue the effort to educate and assist those in need of a WalkAide®, the American Dream Home Mortgage successfully presented the Freedom to Walk Foundation’s Seventh Annual Gala with a ‘carnival’ theme on October 5 at the Marriott Tampa Airport.

Donors seeking to help fund WalkAides® are always welcome. She is seeking sponsors for next year’s gala, which will be held on Saturday, October 10, 2020 at the Centre Club in Tampa. The foundation is made up entirely of volunteers.

For information, contact Vega at 546-2329 or visit www.FreedomToWalkFoundation.org.