‘Divine intervention’: Tampa Bay man creates device for those with limited mobility after losing use of legs during battle with rare disease

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Frank Tully’s life changed in an instant in 2012.

“I got a little tingling in my toe,” said Tully. 

The very next day, Tully recalls that “tingling” feeling spread to his other foot and then his legs. Three months later, the Spring Hill resident had lost most of his mobility. 

“My legs were dead, from the knees down, just dead. I didn’t fall off a cliff, I didn’t hurt my spine, they just died,” said Tully. 

Soon, doctors learned what claimed Tully’s once active lifestyle. 

“The doctor comes in and he goes, ‘It’s a blood cancer.’ I started hyperventilating,” he recalled.

Tully was eventually diagnosed with POEMS syndrome

“My blood had too much protein in it and it attacked the gel that protects the nerves. This gel, it ate through it and left my nerves exposed,” said Tully. 

For the next year, the husband and father was confined to a wheelchair and was left feeling hopeless. But he refused to be defeated. That’s when he tells 8 On Your Side, God spoke to him and gave him an idea.  

“This has been divine intervention,” said Tully. 

Tully who is now cancer-free but still doesn’t have full use of his legs and feet, invented  the xLanyard. This invention, Tully believes, will help others with limited mobility. 

According to the former house painter turned inventor, the xLanyard has endless possibilities and can be used to attach, pick up or pull just about any item, while distributing its weight. That makes heavy or cumbersome objects easier to move. 

Tully came to the News Channel 8 Studio to demonstrate how it works:  

Ultimately, the man who beat the unthinkable is still finding his footing back to restored health but hopes something positive comes out of his rare battle. 

“For people out there who are having a rough time, keep the faith and you’ll get it done.” 

Tully says the xLanyard has even caught the attention of local fire departments and military personnel. He tells 8 On Your Side the xLanyard will run for about $80. 

Tully has also created a mini-xLanyard along with an Apple Watch chain called an iClasp, another creation he believes will help those who are handicap or looking for hands-free access to their devices.  

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