Jason Lucci’s life is almost unrecognizable to anyone who knew him before he moved to Canada from his native Boston in 2012. And it’s not because of his amputated arm from a 2017 workplace accident.
Lucci, 35, says he’s a different person on the inside.
“I used to be a shy guy and kept to myself at work,” says Lucci. “After I moved up here from Boston, all my friends were my wife’s friends. But now I have a whole new set of friends.”
This newfound sense of community and purpose comes from a few sources, namely West Park Healthcare Centre, Rehab Plus and ACT - the Amputee Coalition of Toronto.
After Jason’s accident in March of 2017 and the ensuing four surgeries, he came to West Park after hearing good things about it from his wife’s family. He arrived at West Park in the summer of 2017, meeting with his amputee rehabilitation and prosthetics team to establish a treatment plan. His goal simply was to return to a normal life – working, baseball, fishing, video games.
Having lost his dominant hand and forearm would make that difficult. But he and his West Park team were up to the task, thanks to the skill, knowledge and technology available to him.
Lucci’s first prosthetic took the form of a body-powered prosthetic arm with a hand and hook. “It freaked me out at first. I didn’t know what to expect,” Lucci says. “But I put it on, and it felt normal. I picked up a water bottle on my first try!”
Later that summer he was introduced to the idea of using what’s called a myoelectric hand – basically a robotic hand with moveable fingers. The hand’s movements are programmed through an application and initiated by bio-signals from Jason’s muscles. He wanted the bionic hand right away.
Amputee Coalition of Toronto
It was while working with his new myoelectric hand that Jason began to look for amputee communities outside of West Park to share stories and seek support. He came across the ACT Facebook page and connected with the founder. They turned the page into a group for amputees and never looked back.
In a few short months ACT has grown from a few members to over 80, all by reaching out through events, potlucks and sharing resources.
Lucci has expanded ACT’s digital presence even further, creating the blog amputeecoalitiontoronto.ca, a portal for amputees on resources ranging from information on disability tax credits to terminology, all to help amputees navigate their new world.
He even was a guest speaker at a recent joint Centre/Foundation Board retreat, sharing his experiences and goals for the future.
It’s a whole new world for Lucci, one he is embracing with gusto. It’s also proof positive Lucci is getting his life back.