Taylor Morris is so many things. He was a soldier who fought in Afghanistan. He is a devoted boyfriend with a drive to succeed in life. He is also a quadruple amputee. How he found the courage to go on, against all the odds, is kind of a miracle.
With more and more people returning from multiple tours of duty overseas, we are seeing many soldiers coming home with horrific injuries. However, it is rare for anyone who lost all four limbs to survive. Only four others in the world have. It’s hard enough to reenter society with everything intact, much less after four amputations.
When Morris was 23, he was working as a Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Tech in Afghanistan. He was out with his team when he stepped on a bomb. Can you imagine anything stopping your heart like the feeling of a bomb going off with you on it? Morris says he remembers it well. He flew through the air and landed knowing for sure that he lost his arms and legs. He remembers the pain and his team members trying to locate him.
He ended up losing both legs at the knee, his left arm at the elbow and his right hand due to that IED on May 3rd. Did he have any inkling that something like this could happen? Maybe. Being the first line of defense against bombs does put you in harm’s way. Using a metal detector to clear a path for all the other soldiers puts you right at the front. Even so, he didn’t exactly expect it.
After spending two months in the hospital, Morris was discharged and went about the job of discovering how to live again, in a whole new way. Everyday chores were suddenly impossible, but he would have to learn to make them possible.
The story’s sweet side is the fact that his girlfriend, Danielle Kelly, has stood by his side throughout the entire recovery process and even carried him up flights of stairs. She has helped him learn to use his prosthetic limbs, to walk, grasp items and even helped him learn to dance again.
“I am feeling much, much better,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that anything has really changed in me or I have changed feelings about anything. Maybe I’m just getting more positive and realizing it is possible to have a better future than I originally thought.”
When people found out about his story, they started donating to his dream of having a cabin on the lake. In two days, people donated over $250,000 through PayPal.
To see photos of Taylor Morris’ journey from hospital to discharge, check out his Flickr photostream (warning: some images show stitched up limbs after the amputations).