West Island man undaunted by recovery after electrocution, amputation

Kevin Bolusi doesn't remember much from the night 25,000 volts of electricity shot through his body, but he does remember the pain.

Two years after losing his leg, Kevin Bolusi hopes to attend Concordia's Aerospace Engineering program

Kevin Bolusi lost his left leg in a 2015 accident. The recovery has been slow but steady. (Kevin Bolusi)

Kevin Bolusi doesn't remember much from the night 25,000 volts of electricity shot through his body, but he does remember the pain.

On August 12, 2015, around 9 p.m., the 18-year-old and his friends were out exploring the West Island. Ahead of him, he spotted an AMT bridge — the one connecting Pierrefonds and Laval.

He ran towards the bridge and started climbing, managing to hang from its top rungs for a couple of seconds. Then everything cut to black.

25,000 volts of electricity

Bolusi has since learned he dropped about 30 feet, falling squarely between the electrified railway tracks. His friends told him they saw a flash of light.

He has memories of them dousing the flames coming from his body with water, reassuring him that he would be all right. At the time, Bolusi said, it felt like a dream.

One of his friends called for help and Bolusi was rushed to hospital — where he spent the next six weeks in a medically-induced coma. He had burns to 75 per cent of his body.

Kevin Bolusi was 18 years old when he suffered burns to 75 per cent of his body and lost his left leg. (Kevin Bolusi)

When he woke up, he remembers being told his left leg had been amputated. It felt like a phantom limb, and would continue to haunt him for about a month.

But reflecting on that period now, Bolusi doesn't recall being upset by the news. During his four to five months in hospital, he says it was hard to distinguish between dreams, real life and hallucinations.

After months in rehab, Bolusi returned home and acclimatized to life with a prosthetic leg. 

Walking on snow and ice can still be a challenge, but his leg allows him to walk easily and he's able to bike with the leg he has.

"Of course, some little things I can't do but I'm going to try to find ways to work around it," Bolusi told CBC's Daybreak earlier this week.

Before the accident, Bolusi played rugby and he hopes to get a special prosthetic limb that would allow him to run. 

The family put in an insurance request to buy one last year but was declined. Without insurance, the limb would cost more than $13,000 — more than the family can afford.

The sensitivity of Kevin Bolusi's burnt skin made it difficult initially for him to wear a prosthetic leg. (Kevin Bolusi)

Wake up call

Bolusi credits the accident with encouraging him to focus on his studies, which he hadn't taken seriously beforehand. 

Now that he's finishing at John Abbott College, he's boosted his marks and hopes to get into Concordia's Aerospace Engineering program.

"If I didn't get into this accident and getting that mentality of focusing on things ... I feel like it kind of helped in that sense," he said.

Still, financing Bolusi's school will be a challenge for the family: he looked into bursaries without success. And while he worked part-time with a moving company before the accident, he's now having trouble finding work.

He said he'd like to be saving for school, but that it's hard to do when he doesn't have an income.

With files from CBC's Daybreak