Good health hasn't been with one Iraq War Veteran. Because of complications from a war injury, Sgt. Justin Anderson had to have his left leg amputated in 2014. Months after the amputation, Anderson received a brain cancer diagnosis.
Now one year into remission, Anderson is receiving some good news when it comes to his health. Next week Anderson will be flying to Australia to have a medical procedure only about two dozen Americans have had.
Justin Anderson enlisted in the army before September 11th, but the day’s events didn’t deter him from his decision.
“It just made me even more motivated to go serve my country and do my due diligence,” said Anderson.
After boot camp Anderson took part in the initial invasion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In June of 2003, Anderson was shot by the enemy.
“I took a gunshot wound to my left knee and then had some shrapnel injury to my lower back,” said Anderson.
A few months later Sgt. Justin Anderson was honorably discharged.
“I had a total of 14 surgeries over ten years just to try to save my limb,” said Anderson.
Two year ago Anderson’s left leg had to be amputated above the knee.
When KMTV caught up with the veteran in 2014, amputation wasn’t stopping him from being active.
A Nebraska winter can’t even slow the veteran. In January, Anderson’s snowplow wheelchair turned him into a viral sensation.
So when Anderson began experiencing painful irritation because of the socket he had to wear over his stump, you better believe he found a way to win that battle.
“I will be undergoing surgery on June 1st of this year in Sydney, Australia,” said Anderson.
Anderson is the first Iraq War Veteran to undergo Osseointegration, a procedure not yet approved in the US.
A titanium rod will be implanted into Anderson’s femur. That rod will protrude about three inches out of his stump and act as an adaptor for his prosthetic leg.
“I can just click into my leg and go, I don't have to rely on my crutches, my wheelchair or my walker,” said Anderson.
Coincidentally the doctor behind the breakthrough medical procedure is an Iraqi refugee.
“This technology is proprietary to him,” said Anderson.
Dr. Munjed Al Muderis fled to Australia to get away from Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Anderson hopes one day Dr. Muderis can bring the advanced technology to the United States to help other veterans change their lives for the better.
“It’s really going to transform everything,” said Anderson.
Anderson will be in Australia for five weeks after surgery. The procedure costs close to $80,000. Anderson says a major chunk of that is paid for by insurance, but he still has many medical bills to pay for. A GoFundMe account has been set up for Anderson and can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/gulg5g