Frostbitten UMD student shows off new helping hand


Alyssa Jo Lommel, the St. Cloud native who had to have multiple amputations on her hands and feet after she spent a December night in below-zero cold on a Duluth porch, continues to make progress in her recovery.

Lommel, who attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, was in critical condition when she was found unconscious on the steps of her neighbor’s porch after a night of drinking. She spent many weeks in the hospital recovering and has undergone multiple surgeries and skin grafts.

On Instagram and Twitter, a grinning Lommel is showing off "the final prototype of my hand." She added that, "This is just the first step to making my actual hand that I will be going home with on Friday."

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Previous reports indicated that Lommel would get a customized hand that has been called electronic, robotic and bionic. Last spring, Lommel indicated she would be fitted with a hand that would be able to be programmed to perform 14 different kinds of grips. The electronically powered artificial fingers can grasp and manipulate objects, and type on a keyboard.

Lommel's recent tweets demonstrate both her resilience and her sense of humor about the physical changes to her body, acknowledging how the loss of her toes has changed the shape of her feet.

"Things are finally falling into place and I'm extremely happy with where I am! No better feeling than having a smile on my face :)," she tweeted last month.

Lommel has indicated that she will return to her studies at the Duluth campus in the fall. A double psychology-sociology major, Lommel expects to graduate on time. She previously told the St. Cloud Times that she enrolled in online summer classes.

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