A freak accident deep in the wilderness of Montana’s backcountry nearly ended one man’s life, but also may have saved it.
In 2011, Eduardo Garcia was bowhunting for elk near Gardiner when he discovered a dead bear cub. Curious, Garcia reached out to touch it with his knife, not knowing at the time that the cub was killed by a buried 2,400-volt power line hidden underneath its carcass. The shock of the electrocution threw Garcia to the ground and left him severely burned, but the hunter still found the resolve to walk three miles for help.
Although it lasted for only an instant, the burst of electricity ended up costing Garcia four ribs, his left hand, and large amounts of muscle mass. In a strange twist, during his treatment, doctors discovered that Garcia also had stage two testicular cancer. They managed to treat it before it spread too widely.
The hunter has since gained renown as a world-class chef with his own food company, remains a spirited athlete, and an avid outdoorsman.
Garcia announced recently that he is raising funds for a documentary on his life through Kickstarter. The film will, fittingly enough, be called Charged.
“Eduardo’s bizarre story needs to be shared. It is a compelling and inspiring example of what it means to be human,” stated his Kickstarter campaign.
“By all accounts I should not be alive and sitting at my desk writing this today! Having my health and the clarity of mind to write these words and pursue my dreams fills me with such gratitude,” Garcia wrote.
“Many people do not manage to get back up after a traumatic injury,” he continued. “This is because it sucks and because it’s hard! A smile is one of the most powerful ways to say, ‘Yes, I will try. I can do this!’ If this documentary brightens at least one face with a smile and sets off that spark of energy needed to embrace one’s own experience and start living life fully charged, then I will have succeeded in my mission to help others.”
Years later, Garcia described that cold day in October as a traumatic, but life-changing experience. The hunter blamed his own curiosity for having gotten the better of him when he found the motionless bear cub. The animal had apparently dug up a buried electrical wire and died only shortly before Garcia found it. Using a knife to give the animal a nudge allowed the electricity a direct path to Garcia’s body.
“It was a crazy mixture of heat and sound. Imagine if someone threw you into an oven with an orchestra soundtrack, that’s what it was like,” he said. “I woke up on my back, eyes open… I remember the sky. I looked down at my left hand and it was charred and black and curled at a ninety degree angle at my chest,” he told KPAX in a recent interview.
Garcia spent the next 48 days in an intensive care unit, and then spent five months undergoing chemotherapy to treat his cancer. When he finally left the hospital, Garcia dedicated himself to overcoming his physical challenges and living out his dreams. Today, Garcia is an inspirational speaker, spokesman for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and runs his own food company, Montana Mex.
“Charged is a survivor story, the survival of a man and a friendship. But it is about more than just surviving, it is about building stronger relationships and a better life after tragedy. It is about finding your best self so you can live life fully Charged,” stated the Kickstarter campaign.
Garcia is hoping to raise $150,000 for the production of the film by October 3. You can watch a trailer for the documentary below:
Image from Kickstarter