Community Raises Money To Buy Visalia Man New Hand

Michael Elizalde puts on his boots one foot at a time just like everyone else, except he does it with a prosthetic arm. In November of 2013, Michael was in an accident with his friend while riding ATV vehicles in the dessert. {}"We wanted to just take it out for a spin, and it wasn't going to be nothing intense or anything. And out mid-ride we hit a "whop" ... basically a little bump," said Elizalde. The bad fall broke both of his arms. His left hand suffered severe bone and artery damage. "So we only had about five or six hours before the hand lost all of its ability to be saved," said Elizalde. Michael was rushed to a hospital in San Francisco by air. Over the course of several weeks, Michael underwent six surgeries but the damage was too far gone. His hand and part of his forearm were amputated as a result. "I am glad to have my life versus trying to save my hand," said Elizalde. Since last month, Michael has been wearing a prosthetic claw. With it, he can do most things to get by, but he admits that he can't do everything. "Things that people take for granted; something as simple as blowing your nose can be interesting with one hand," said Elizalde. His goal now is to get a new "myoelectric prosthetic" hand; it moves and feels almost like the real thing. It can cost anywhere between $40,000 and $100,000; money the family admits they don't have. "Insurance companies don't consider fingers or a hand a necessity. When we told Michael, he said, well who made that policy? Somebody with two hands?" said Brenda Elizalde, Michael's mother. To help raise money, friends and family have organized a rummage sale. The community has donated trailers full of goodies to sell, including clothing, and sports equipment. "The family has done great things for us. It's a great friendship. They helped when we needed help so, might as well return the favor," said Shannon Tripoli, a family friend. The community is also helping raise money online on So far, they have raised almost $4,000. Michael says the money will bring him one step closer to his old life, and the things he loves doing the most. Rummage Sale Fundraiser When: Saturday, May 3rd 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Where: Hanger Prosthetic Clinic - 750 S. MOONEY BLVD, VISALIA 93277