Monday, July 12, 2010

First Quadruple Amputee to Survive
Brendan Marrocco, a soldier who served in Iraq, came back as a quadruple amputee. Despite his disabilities, he is full of joy and moving on with his life.

Last year, on Easter Sunday, soldier Brendan Marrocco was driving in Iraq with his best friend Michael Anaya when their military vehicle tripped a roadside bomb.

Anaya was killed instantly, and both of Marrocco’s arms and legs were blown off. The carotid artery in his neck was severed.

“That alone should have killed me," Marracco said.

But in a strange twist of fate, he hardly bled at all from his injuries: the bomb was so hot that it instantly cauterized his wounds, saving his life.

Of course, Marracco’s life would never be the same again. Now a quadruple amputee, he is slowly and painfully learning to live without the use of his limbs, undergoing daily physical therapy at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is able to wear prosthetic limbs for brief periods of time, but because of the stress on his body, he spends much of the day in bed or a wheelchair.

But despite everything he has lost, Marracco is full of joy to be alive.

“I’m the first quad amputee ever to survive, I just want to keep progressing, keep going and doing more stuff. I don’t want to live a life where I just sit and do nothing with my life."

Marracco is already making big plans. Recently, he got engaged to Kate Barsto, a young woman that he met at Walter Reed. "He’s such an incredible person and people don’t need to feel sorry for him," she said. Even with his disabilities, "he’s better than normal to me."

And while Marracco is still living in a hospital room at Walter Reed, he and Barsto will have a home to go to when they’re ready to begin their life together: several non-profit groups on Staten Island, where Marracco is from, have joined up to build a new, fully-accessible home for Marracco.

Marracco is also hoping to get a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, and possibly go into a job for the CIA or FBI.

Specialist Marrocco is setting an example for us all with his quintessentially American spirit, courage and refusal to give up.