Edward is an American hero. During his third deployment in 2009, the Navy Corpsman was on a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan when his unit was ambushed. Edward took a round to the sciatic nerve in his left leg and lost all function and feeling below his knee. Edward opted for surgery to repair the severed peripheral nerve with a nerve allograft for bridging severed nerves. Less than three years later, he was able to walk and jog independently. Now 28, the Purple Heart recipient is a student at Penn State University where he is studying to be a physician's assistant and is actively training for the Paralympics.
It was a phone call that every parent dreads: On Aug. 27, 2009, Edward and Katherine Bonfiglio were still asleep when their son Edward called. "Dad, I got shot. Don't tell mom."
Navy Corpsman Edward Bonfiglio was on a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan when his unit was ambushed. He took a round to the sciatic nerve in his left leg and immediately lost all function and feeling below his knee.
Upon his arrival a week later at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, surgeons gave Edward two options: either amputation or repair of the severed peripheral nerve with Avance® Nerve Graft, a processed nerve allograft for bridging severed nerves. While amputation would allow Edward to begin rehabilitation with a prosthetic leg in just a few months, the nerve graft would provide Edward the potential to keep his own leg.
Edward and his family chose the nerve graft, and he worked hard at physical therapy once the surgery was completed. Within months, he could wiggle his toes. Later, he progressed to having some movement and could walk with a cane. Within three years, he could walk and jog.
Edward proudly described the first time he was able to move his foot following surgery as "one of the greatest moments I had in my entire life." He added, "I am grateful to have been offered the option of nerve repair with Avance Nerve Graft."
Now 28, the Purple Heart recipient is a student at Penn State University where he is studying to be a physician's assistant. He is also actively training for the Paralympics. Since his surgery, he has shared his inspirational story across a number of media and audiences, including the community of tissue banks. Edward realizes that he has been very fortunate to have survived an enemy ambush and to have regained his ability to walk.