Retired Marine, quadruple amputee celebrates milestone in moving his fingers
BOSTON (KTVU) - A retired Marine Sergeant who became a quadruple amputee after being wounded in Afghanistan is celebrating a major milestone.
Video recently posted on a Facebook page established to chronicle John Peck's journey shows a jubilant and moving moment when the former Marine manages to wiggling his fingers for the first time since his double arm transplant.
The video is captioned "First finger Wiggles," and you can hear Peck's delight as he exclaims, "You're moving!"
In 2010, while serving in Afghanistan, Peck lost both of his legs, part of his right arm, and severely injured his left arm when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED), triggering a blast.
His left arm ultimately had to be amputated.
The life altering injuries came during Peck's second tour of duty and after he had recovered from a traumatic brain injury he received three years prior when his vehicle was hit by an IED in Iraq.
"His first injury didn't stop him from going back to serve his country. He had to beg and plead with doctors to release him from limited duty," according to the website, johnpeckjourney.org, set up to support Sgt. Peck.
Last August, Peck underwent a transplant operation at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where he received two new arms.
In a Facebook post, he later expressed his deep gratitude to his donor, a 27-year-old man named Chris, who was born with a congenital brain injury.
Peck wrote, Chris's "parents were told on their 20th anniversary that their loving son was pronounced brain-dead... He saved at least four people lives and improved a lot more. I will cherish him his life and his gift till the day I die."
Since Peck's transplant, he has faced some ups and downs in his recovery, including post-transplant rejection episodes which have sent him in and out of the hospital.
He has also undergone intensive rehabilitation sessions to help him gain function of his new arms.
Peck told KTVU.com that being able to move his fingers was a monumental and emotional moment for him, and he said he was encouraged and excited about the prospect of fulfilling a lifelong dream.
"...after we shut the video off I started to cry happy tears because I realized that I was one step closer to becoming a chef and that this small movement was actually a huge step, " said Peck.
His story has inspired many. And those who are following his journey have praised him for his courage, sent him prayers and words of encouragement, and thanked him for his sacrifice and service.