Teenager Loses Fingers And Toes And Sends Out Urgent Warning To All Students
Cailyn Finkel 12/5/2018
Alyssa Lommel was just 19 years old when she came within minutes of death. She had been found in subfreezing temperatures wearing just a coat and Ugg boots. She was without gloves, a hat or a substantial snow jacket to keep her protected from the frigid winter weather.
Now, after losing all of her fingers and a good portion of her toes due to hypothermia, Alyssa is warning other young people about the importance of bundling up during the winter.
There's no reason to sacrifice your safety in order to "look cool."
Alyssa told USA Todaythat, even though she doesn't remember exactly how she came to be unconscious outside, she's ready to move on with the help of her community. There's no reason to dwell on the past - only motivation to move forward.
"There were a few days that were incredibly hard to deal with and there have been a lot of tears, but at the same time the support that I've gotten is unbelievable. Every little 'we're thinking of you' counts. I wouldn't have been able to get through this without the support I've received from friends, family and even strangers...
I honestly don't remember anything from that day. I don't remember going to class, going to work or anything. The whole day was kind of wiped out. To be honest, I don't want to remember. I just want to move forward."
Life without fingers is incredibly challenging. That's why Alyssa gets so frustrated when she sees other people not dressing properly for winter weather.
When first responders found her, Alyssa's hands were swollen up to more than times their normal size and her body temperature dropped to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. She told Inside Editonthat everything in her life is made more complicated because of her obvious decision not to wear gloves.
"I had to relearn every single thing in my life. I had to relearn how to open a book... Simple things people don't think about because it's just so basic."
As for her advice for other young people who would rather wear a cute outfit than sensible snow gear?
"Put on a coat! Put on a hat! Put on mittens! You may think it's uncool, you may be worried, 'What if I leave it somewhere?' What if it gets stolen?' What if you lose your life?"
Dressing for chilly weather can easily be the difference between staying cozy during an emergency situation and losing your body parts (and possibly your life) to hypothermia.