Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quadruple amputee to appear in Rose Bowl parade


AURORA, Colo. - In 2002, Manuel Salazar (pictured) lost all four of his limbs during a jobsite accident that sent 115,000 volts through his body - twice. Through years of rehabilitation and determination, he rebuilt his body and his spirit. Now, Salazar wants to share his story with the world.

"I'm nervous," Salazar said. "But it's going to be exciting at the same time."

Salazar was invited to appear on the "Donate Life" float at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. He is going on behalf of a Colorado-based, nonprofit organization called AlloSource.

"I feel that it's an honor for me to be able to help them get the word out and let other people know that maybe are in a similar situation," Salazar said.

AlloSource provides skin, bone, and tissue allografts.

For Salazar, the donations helped doctors surgically attach an extension of what he has left of his right arm. Donor bone was used to help build his shoulder joint to support the placement muscle and tissue.

"This extra 6-inch arm has made a huge difference in my life," Salazar said.

He says he can feed himself, scratch his face, and manipulate objects without having to use a prosthetic arm.

He wants other amputees to know of the procedure and he wants others to think about donating organs and tissue.

"Before I was presented with it, I didn't even know anything about bone tissue or that they could do stuff like that," Salazar said.

Two years ago, he started his own custom car shop. He hopes to one day drive again with the use of a joystick and his arm. Salazar downhill skis, water skis, and swims. He wants other amputees to know that they can still chase their dreams.

"As long as I can inspire people and help people, I'll do whatever it takes to do that," Salazar said.