Daniel Aldana was driving his motorcycle in Chandler on April 14, 2014, when he was hit by another vehicle. Immediately, he was rushed to the hospital.
“I just remember waking up in the hospital all bandaged up and everyone just crying around me,” Aldana said.
The Avondale resident bled out once at the scene and twice at the hospital.
He said that while he doesn’t remember much of the accident, he does recall the recovery and the uncertainty that came within the following days.
“It was quite scary for my family and for myself,” said Aldana. “We didn’t know exactly what was going to happen or what was going on and what was to come.”
Despite the uncertainty, he said he had a feeling that he knew he would be OK and that his family kept him going.
“I had a good feeling that it was just another accident, I was going to get better, I was going to make my way out and honestly I had no sense of fear that I was going to be dead,” said Aldana.
He went through 28 surgeries and lost his leg above the knee.
Following the accident and his recovery, Aldana said he gained a new outlook on life, went back to school and completed his degree from Universal Technical Institute.
“I knew that I was a different person coming out of the accident, so I had to go back and show who I really was and how capable I am of really being a great student,” he said.
He said his parents supported his educational pursuits and encouraged him to complete his degree.
In 2018, Aldana landed a job as a lift technician at The Lift Shop, which specializes in custom car and truck aftermarket product sales and installation.
He said what he likes about his job is that instead of just repairing things, he gets to build them. Aldana doesn’t let the physically demanding aspects of his job get in the way.
“That’s what made me want to seek out Lifted Trucks and The Lift Shop,” he said. “This is what I want to do, and this is where I want to go. I want to build stuff.”
The Lift Shop is associated with Lifted Trucks.
Todd Zubchevich is the owner of The Lift Shop. When hiring Aldana, Zubchevich said he wasn’t even aware that Aldana was an amputee.
“It was kind of a surprise to everybody. … There’s zero difference between him and any other tech in the building,” said Zubchevich.
He said that Lifted Trucks recently set up a GoFundMe on Aldana’s behalf, aimed at raising money toward a new prosthetic leg for him.
“Between Lifted Trucks and us, we put in $2,000 to start it, and we had a customer who he’s dealt with several times walk in. He did $1,000,” he said.
As of June 26, the GoFundMe has raised $5,390 of its $10,000 goal.
Zubchevich said he hoped there would have been more of a community response.
“It’s just been a little weird that he hasn’t gotten the response that I thought we would definitely get to help him out,” he said. “We’re just trying to keep pushing till he gets what he needs.”
He mentioned that The Lift Shop and Lifted Trucks will continue to help Aldana obtain his new prosthetic.
“The only thing he’s limited by is that leg, so as a group, we just got to make it happen for him,” Zubchevich said.
Aldana said he does have a basic prosthetic leg for walking but that it doesn’t allow him to do many of the things he used to do.
“Being an above-knee amputee, I was like, ‘This is my life now, and all I can do is walk. I can’t really do much.’ … At least with this prosthetic I’d be able to go snowboarding once again with my brother and not have those memories brought up but be able to make new ones,” he said.
Aldana said that he and his girlfriend, Rikky Gonzales, are expecting and that with a new prosthetic, he would love to go mountain biking and snowboarding with his child.
Since his injury seven years ago, Aldana has learned to appreciate and realize that people are willing to help. A shop customer even offered him one of his old prosthetic legs.
“Just realize that no matter how bad things get, there’s always someone out there that wants to help you and wants you to do better,” he said.
Aldana is very appreciative of everyone in his life. He made a video about his story to share with others.
“I mean if it wasn’t for these good people in my life, I don’t know where I’d be,” he said. “I’d probably just be doing the same stuff I was doing every day and not realize that someone actually wants to help me out and make my dreams come true again.”
Anyone interested in helping Aldana get a new prosthetic leg can donate to his GoFundMe at https://gofund.me/7b1d5e59.