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Dec 25, 2013 4:13 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Local man recovers after free surgery grants new lease on life

TUCSON - A former truck driver has a new lease on life after a terrifying accident nearly killed him back in 2009 - leaving him with debilitating injuries. Earlier this month, Tucson Medical Center in partnership with Operation Walk, granted him a free join replacement surgery to help put him on the path to recovery.

Carlos Lopez, 49, had his legs crushed when a car slammed into the commercial truck he was driving on the interstate back in 2009.

"When everything stopped, the steering wheel had pinned both my legs and that was a life-changing moment for me," Lopez told News 4 Tucson.

The pain was constant. For years, Carlos struggled to get around, that is, until TMC and Operation Walk fronted the medical bills to give him a joint replacement and a second chance at living the life he wanted.

"It's just fantastic and since the operations I did have to go through the pains that you do with the surgeries but the pain that I was dealing with before, it went away," Lopez said.

He takes each day in the recovery, one step at a time. He used to need the help of two canes to walk around but that's changed.

"My legs are perfectly even and I can put the pressure that I need to support myself... it's just a matter of time before this cane gets retired also because I feel like I'm improving on a daily basis," Lopez said.

Carlos said this entire experience has inspired him to go back to school and get involved in the medical field in some way so that one day he can pay it forward.

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