Utah double amputee to travel to Ukraine to help others in similar situations

Mar 8, 2024, 9:13 AM | Updated: 3:59 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — A man who lost both hands after an industrial accident was preparing this week for his most ambitious attempt yet to help other amputees.

Samoana Matagi said on Mar. 20, he planned to team up with nonprofits Enhancing Skills for Life and Protez Hub and embark on a journey to Ukraine to mentor recent amputees.

“When they said I’m going to Ukraine, I’m like, ‘What?’” Matagi told KSL TV. “I never thought I’d be traveling to Ukraine.”

In December 2010, Matagi was working on power lines when he was shocked.

“I was burned by 14,400 volts,” Matagi said. “That caused me to have to have my hands amputated.”

The emotions were overwhelming.

“I remember sitting there and being hopeless and depressed,” he recalled.

Over the next several months, Matagi relearned how to do everything with the help of prosthetics, something he jokingly said was aided by good “hook-eye” coordination.

“I had to learn how to feed myself and do activities of daily living,” Matagi said.

Matagi said he worked hard and never lost hope and now hopes to help others in similar situations.

Samoana Matagi in the hospital surrounded by friends. (Photo courtesy: Samoana Matagi)

He has done that to date with his YouTube channel as the “No-Handed Bandit.”

While nervous about the journey into a war zone, he said he wanted to make a difference for other recent amputees there — saying that helping others find hope makes him happy as well.

“Hope is the only thing — the only thing that keeps us going,” Matagi said.

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Utah double amputee to travel to Ukraine to help others in similar situations