Before my accident on June 25th, 2016, I was about as active as any 27-year-old can be. Most days you would find me waking up at 5:00am to take a class at my HIIT gym before heading into work. At that time, in fact the day before my accident, I had been promoted to a management position at my job where I had been working for five years prior. In 2011, I moved from northern New Jersey, where I was born and raised, to take an entry level position at my company. I knew that I was taking a risk by picking up my whole life and moving across the country but Arizona was calling me. My brother was already living in Scottsdale, Arizona so it made my decision easier. I also knew that my Dad and my step mother had intentions of retiring to the White Mountains in Arizona. My step sister followed suit too. I am blessed to have moved across the country and have been able to keep my family close.
Some might say that I’ve experienced more loss in my short 28 years then most do in their whole life. My mom, Linda Gazzano, passed away from cancer when I was 15 years old. She was diagnosed with cancer when I was in 7th grade and battled until I was a Junior in high school. I watched her fight until she was too tired to fight anymore. What she probably didn’t realize, myself too, that through her battle she taught me strength, resilience, perseverance and tenacity. She didn’t know that those very powerful teaching moments would ultimately set me up to overcome the loss of my arm. She was, is and will continue to be my hero.
On June 25th, 2016, I was involved in a roll over ATV accident where I lost my right arm above the elbow. I committed from the moment I woke up in the hospital that I would not allow this to define me. I made the decision that I would not be a victim of my circumstance and I would show others that they too can overcome. I found that nothing was more fulfilling then being able to do everything that I once could with one arm. 17 days after my accident I was back in the gym with my trainers doing what I’ve grown a custom to doing. Many people told me it was too soon but I decided it wasn’t.
During these last 15 months, I’ve truly gained more than I’ve lost. That may be difficult for some to understand. I’ve gained a new appreciate for life, I’ve grown stronger than I ever could with two arms and I’ve overcome more than I ever thought I would. The truth is, I would not change a thing. I’m back in the gym everyday like I once was and I’m a better person because of what happened to me.
On September 5th of last year, my fiancé asked me to marry him. He, along with my family have been the most incredible support system. Without them I would not be nearly as far along as I am. I am the luckiest person in the world to have them. I am so excited to know that I will be able to have beautiful silicone covering for my prosthesis on my wedding day. I never thought that I would need to worry about how my arm would look on my wedding day but The LSK Foundation, ArTech and Advanced Arm Dynamics have put me at ease. I am so honored and grateful that they have chosen me as their very first recipient. I hope that one day I will be able to be as impactful on someone as they have been on me. I am forever grateful to the whole team.