Frostbitten UMD student plans to return to campus this fall


The University of Minnesota-Duluth student who suffered severe frostbite after spending a night in subzero temperatures, resulting in amputations on her hands and feet, plans to return to campus this fall.

Alyssa Lommel was found unconscious on the steps of her neighbor’s porch after a night of drinking last December. She had spent the night outside in temperatures that dipped as low as 17-below zero.

Despite amputations up to the knuckles of all her fingers and thumbs on both hands, the 19 year old is able to complete everyday tasks – like putting on her makeup, eating and texting – with the help of special tools, the St. Cloud Times says. Last week, her family announced on her CaringBridge page that she was being fitted for a bionic right hand.

"Obviously, there is going to be a lot of work that needs to be done, but my goal is to be up in Duluth in the fall," Lommel told the St. Cloud Times. "I have all my classes picked out with the times and everything. I'm one of those nerds — I'm so excited to get back to school."

Lommel, a psychology and sociology double major, is expected to graduate with the rest of her class. She told the newspaper that she's enrolled in online summer classes, which start in May, and will plans to enroll in fall classes on April 22. She is also planning to restart her job as a study hall supervisor in Duluth this fall.

Before the accident, Lommel wanted to be an addictions counselor. Now she wants to be a social worker like the woman who has helped her, the newspaper says.

"I've always wanted to help other people," Lommel told the St. Cloud Times. "Now I am in a position where I have been through a lot and I can help other people realize that they can come through, too."

Lommel has also regained confidence and no longer hides her hands and feet when she goes out in public.

"Now I'm just confident — 'This is who I am,' " Lommel told the St. Cloud Times. "If you want to look and stare, go ahead. If you have questions, just ask. I am happy with where I am today."

Lommel told the St. Cloud Times that after spending two months at St. Paul Regions Hospital, the staff became like family. Read more here.

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