CAMAS, Wash. (KOIN) — Gregg Teaby turned his kitchen table into a design center after having an “aha!” moment watching his daughter walk in a hospital.
The retired engineer’s adult daughter, Celeste, had a stroke about 5 years ago that left her paralyzed on the left side. She uses a cane to walk distances but that day in the hospital she grabbed a handrail and took off.
“I thought, ‘Wow!’ And all of a sudden a light went off. I said, ‘She needs a moving handrail, a portable handrail that moves,” Teaby said.
That was the day last winter he began designing the “Celeste Power Cane.”
His wife, Roxana, was undergoing chemotherapy, and he set up his design area in the kitchen so he could watch his wife, Celeste’s mother.
“I fixed lunch and designed some more and watch the wife and maybe call 911 a few times,” he told KOIN 6 News.
Working on this project was a kind of therapy. “It allowed me a mental freedom.”
Celeste, 54, is a student at Clark College and has to walk long distances. She can’t use a walker because that requires 2 hands. When she had her stroke on Oct. 31, 2010, doctors said the prognosis wasn’t good and that she would never walk again.
“I said, well, that’s not what I’m going to hear,” she said. Celeste walked about 6 months later.
But twice she’s fallen on campus.
“There’s people my age,” she told KOIN 6 News. “But it’s mostly more of the young folks so I have to keep up with their pace.”
Teaby designed and built 3 versions of the power cane so far, all powered by a cordless drill. She tested it out on a hill on campus and said “It gave me a little momentum and a little strength to get up the hill.”
He customized the power cane with a basket for her books.
“I’m just so grateful and proud of him,” she told KOIN 6 News. “It means love, you know? It means that he loves me.”
Now Gregg Teaby wonders if what helped his daughter could help others.
Next month he plans to show the power cane to his daughter’s brain injury and stroke group to see what they think. But he wants to stay in the background and hopes a non-profit will pick up his idea and run with it, and maybe find a way to offer the cane at little or no cost.
He said his ambition is to keep working on the fourth design. “It hasn’t been developed, just in CAD, and bring some of these to the Vancouver Stroke and Brain group and let them look at them and maybe try them.”
“Everyone is asking, ‘Do you have a patent?’ And I say no, I didn’t do this for the money. I did this for her.”
His daughter Celeste is healthy and his wife Roxana is now cancer-free. That’s all the payment he needs.
“I’ve been paid, I’ve been paid. I mean look at this family today,” Gregg Teaby said. “I’ve been paid in full. I really have.”
—–For more information about the Celeste Power Cane, contact Gregg Teaby by email