Steve Lindley, Miami Project Senior Research Associate, works with research participant Michael Rivera.

Steve Lindley, Miami Project Senior Research Associate, works with research participant Michael Rivera. Photo by Rob Camarena, The Miami Project.

A visitor entering the marble-floored lobby of the elegant seven-story building that now houses the Miami Project could easily mistake it for the entrance to a fine bank or a very upscale office building–until they glance at the gyms behind the glass walls on either side of the lobby. Therapists walk from one exercise machine to another, jotting down notes as paras and quads work out on state-of-the art-equipment. Across the lobby, in the other gym, a man suspended in a harness, legs wired with contacts, empty wheelchair nearby, walks on a treadmill aided by a weight assist machine and two therapists. It’s fitting that the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has chosen to showcase its research gyms at the entrance to its building–a good way to reinforce that its focus isn’t just on cure alone. After all, the short term goal of the project is to improve quality of life.

While some in the disability community still debat