A man in Canada has received the articulated bones of the leg he lost in an accident just in time for Christmas.
CTV News reports that Justin Fernandes, 24, expressed the desire to keep his separated right leg as a symbol of the struggles he has overcome.
“This was my closure, basically,” he told the news station. “This is how I wanted to grieve.”
Fernandes had lost his leg in July after a motorcycle struck him as he walked home. The impact had severed the leg from his body, resulting in months of rehabilitation. He stated that he is only recently able to walk.
Now, Fernandes has his former leg to look at to remind himself of how far he has come.
“To me, turning that morbid, sad object that people would just dispose of and forget, I wanted to turn it into art basically, and that’s what I see when I see it, art,” Fernandes explained. “I think it’s beautiful.”
This piece of art was first commissioned by Fernandes when he joked on a taxidermy page on the Internet about having his leg treated. The Prehistoria Natural History Centre (PNHC)—a natural sciences and archaeological museum in downtown Toronto—saw his comment and reached out to Fernandes to begin collaborating on the effort, believing themselves to be the best candidate for the job due to their extended experience in arrange the bones of animals back into their original form.
After obtaining a specific waiver to obtain the leg and the green light from the hospital to move forward with the project, representatives from the PNHC restructured the shattered bones into its original form. And they did it all for free.
Fernandes was able to see the finished leg on Wednesday, stating it’s a reminder that even after suffering tragedy, “[one’s] life isn’t over.”