On April 20, 1990, Luciano Cruz Llosa was at the home of a schoolmate in San Miguel del Monte. It was a few minutes past noon. After a while, another friend of his joined who was a year older. The three of them were alone. Around 2:00 p.m., the homeowner was absent for a few seconds and returned with a large-caliber firearm (Magnum Smith Wesson 357). Suddenly, accidentally the revolver went off, hitting the projectile in Luciano’s chest and exiting from behind. Then, he made a large hole from side to side in one of the walls of the place.
“As soon as I received the shot, I stopped having mobility and sensitivity in my lower limbs. They took me to the Zenón Videla Dorna Hospital where they operated on me urgently for the condition in my right lung. In that procedure All the town doctors participated, to whom I owe my life. The next day I had neurosurgery to remove bullet shards near my spinal cord. I was on the brink of death for a few days. My state of health did not allow the transfer even by helicopter to Buenos Aires or La Plata. In the Public Hospital of Monte they saved my life. The nurse who assisted me from the first moment made the difference. He managed the operating room, activated the blood donation ”, recalls Luciano, from a distance.
Luciano’s injury was in the 8th dorsal vertebra with loss of sensation and mobility. Logically, one of the questions he asked the doctors after the extreme severity picture was whether he would walk again. The professionals explained to him the level of neurological compromise he had and that he had to wait a few months for the affected area to deflate and stabilize. In the following months, he says, he realized how irreversible the situation was.
Despite the extreme of his case, he says, the reaction was not so bad or at least he remembers it. “I was very content and cared for by my family, friends and school. They were all extremely important. I think I always went forward. I generally saw the positive side of things. I had to live this situation, I tried not to stop to ask myself “ why me? ”. That question makes no practical sense. On the contrary, it distracts you. I became aware that I had to live this life with a different reality than most. I learned that other people with similar experiences had made important achievements: work, careers, family, independence. That’s where I put the focus ”.
Despite the fact that he was only 13 years old and that he was going through an unimaginable situation, Luciano was convinced that the boy who shot him was also a victim of the tragedy. “I believe that both my friend and I were victims of the accident. From what I remember I didn’t feel mad at him. Perhaps the reproach would direct it against the elderly who leave such a dangerous element within the reach of a child. Logically, I had moments of anger typical of the traumatic situation that I had to live at such an early age. I took it out on those I had by my side. I also had religious questions, “he says.
After about 15 days that he was admitted to the public hospital in Monte, Luciano was discharged from the hospital and spent a few days at home with his parents and siblings.
Later, he went to ALPI (Non-profit Civil Association dedicated to neuromotor rehabilitation for pediatric and adult patients), but due to a pleural effusion he was referred to the María Ferrer Hospital. A few days later he had a thrombosis in one of his legs, for which he was admitted to the Garrahan Hospital. “I did a nice tour,” laughs Luciano.
Once he recovered from all the complications he suffered, he was able to complete his rehabilitation at ALPI as an intern until November of that year. “They gave me various guidelines, but then there are issues that one learns from day to day. I had a maxim which was ‘wanting is power’. I also had the opportunity to travel to Cuba on two occasions to perfect my rehabilitation ”.
Luciano says that he learned many things only by force and that in others he had allies who gave him their hand of support and containment so that he would never lower his arms. “To drive a car for the first time I had the help of my brother Santos. We adapt the Renault 11 of the family in a totally homemade way. For that, we have the advice of Quique, a lame man from Monte with a lot of experience. The same for riding a horse. In that case with the help of my cousins. My other three siblings were also very important at other times. Juan, for example, accompanied me to Cuba, with Jacinto we made the graduate trip and with Mecha we shared a home and fanaticism for Estudiantes de La Plata. To swim, I did some research, I saw that it was possible and one day I took off and went out as well. So I was exploring. School, night, alcohol, girls ”.
Far from seeing it as a discomfort, Luciano began to perceive his wheelchair as an ally and a cane that was helping him to do each of the things that he proposed. “I remember that at ALPI they were afraid of me because I was going a thousand times, haha. In a short time I learned to do `willy`. I always liked having the latest in medical equipment (cushion, backrest, wheelchair). It is essential that the person with a disability have good tools ”.
The years passed along with the adaptation that Luciano was making to his new life. In fact, he was not willing to give up anything he felt like doing. That is why he studied Law at the Universidad Católica de La Plata and says that, in general, he had no obstacles or architectural barriers.
In 2000 he joined the Ministry of Justice of the Province of Buenos Aires and in 2008 he began to work in the Public Ministry in the position of Legal Assistant of the Judicial Office of Unit 15 of Batán.
Regarding love, Luciano met Upe at a folk club in Buenos Aires and he says that the first day he even helped him get into the wheelchair in the car. After a little over a year they married eager for the arrival of children. “After a few years God blessed us with the arrival of Antonia. It was really sensational. We intensely enjoy pregnancy, ultrasounds, childbirth, diapers, naps. I always wanted to be a father. I think that for a person who went through difficult situations like me, being a father has a special taste. I feel complete. I always say the same thing: Antonia is the light of my eyes. It is a real sun. Intelligent, spontaneous, sensitive, partner, athlete ”, she expresses with happiness and pride about her daughter, who is currently 10 years old.
Since Luciano, who is currently 45 years old, and his family moved to Mar del Plata with his wife, they wanted to practice a sport related to the city. That idea had always been latent until in 2018 they became aware of an Adapted Surf Clinic provided by Lucas Rubiño, director of the Inclusive school Mar del Surf.
“The first time they put me on the table it was sensational. I have burned that moment. I love the water, the sea and physical activity. There I have all that, in addition to the feeling of freedom and adrenaline. This sport makes you look at the sea in a different way, with different eyes. I try to get to know him a little more every day, always with the utmost respect. Surfers make me feel good. They always lend a hand. I use them a lot and they like the idea of seeing people like me in the water ”.
Luciano participated in two Adapted Surfing World Cups (in San Diego and California), in two Latin American championships in Chile and in two South American championships in Mar del Plata. In addition, he competed in various national championships. And with great joy, he tells that he was consecrated South American champion and champion in the first national competition of Adapted Surf (open category) in 2019. In addition, he obtained two Latin American runner-ups and a national runner-up.
Luciano She believes that progress has been made in recent years on various aspects of disability, but she thinks that there are issues that need to be emphasized. “I believe that various actions could be taken from the state. For example, ensuring compliance with the employment quota for people with disabilities, overseeing compliance with existing regulations for the gradual and sustained elimination of architectural barriers, adapting public passenger transport ”, he exemplifies.
Finally, Luciano wishes to share a hopeful message for people with disabilities who, perhaps, do not find reasons to get ahead. “I tell you That they take advantage, that they enjoy life despite what we had to do, mainly to value life. Cheer up, you can do a lot of things. That we can be surprised. There is no need to refuse beforehand. You have to try. Get used to thinking positive. You can always get positive things out of things. You have to focus on what really matters ”.