Former Marine gets new life after double arm transplant

Former Marine Sgt. John Peck
John Moroney

BOSTON, Mass. (NECN) - A former Marine who lost all four of his limbs after an explosion in Afghanistan has new arms after a transplant.

John Peck says he has good days and bad days, but after the double arm transplant, he excited to hold his fiancée's hand, pursue his dream of becoming a chef and just get another fighting chance at life.

"My personality has definitely changed. I've become more grateful, more humble, even for the small things," the 31-year-old said.

Peck's surgery was performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital in August. After 14 hours of surgery, doctors attached the arms and hands of an unknown donor to Peck's body. It was the fourth transplant of its kind to be performed at the hospital.

"We expect that over many months he will regain both function and sensation in his new hands," said Dr. Simon Talbot.

A Marine sergeant from Virginia, Peck lost his legs and right arm in 2010 when he stepped on an IED during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. His left arm was later amputated because of an infection.

"Seeing him in the ICU was hard, but after that, it's beed good, once the anesthesia wore off and (his) personality came back," said Jessica Paker, Peck's fiancée.

Paker met Peck in February. They were engaged last month. He's learning how to use his new limbs, thinking every day about the donor who gave him a second chance.

"I will continue to have a piece of this man with me until the day I die," Peck said.

It is up to his doctors to decide when Peck can leave Boston. When he does, he'll continue his rehabilitation in Maryland.