SIBU: Lightning ‘robbed’ Martin Tan, 46, of his previous life in late 2008, as he has been unemployed ever since.

But on Thursday evening, the Welfare Department ‘gave it back to him’ and he is once again excited about life.

Tan, from Kanowit, lost his right leg when he was struck by lightning while fishing in Rantau Panjang in late 2008.

That unfortunate event changed the course of his life as he could not work ever since.

Welfare Department director Noriah Ahmad handed him an artificial limb during a gathering at Sri Kenangan Sibu to present BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid), a one-off assistance to the elderly and those with disabilities.

With his ‘life’ back, Tan hoped to be able to find work again.

“All I want is to work again. I do not know how the prosthesis is going to work out, but it is a new start,” he said, adding that he was presently on welfare assistance.

Asked what had happened in 2008, Tan related that he went fishing one afternoon in November that year and everything happened so fast he did not know what had hit him.

“I did not even know that a lightning had struck me until a doctor told me!”

He said he passed out after the lightning struck and was lucky that his wife was nearby and rushed him to Sibu Hospital.

“I did not know anything. I did not feel pain either. By the time I woke up, I think it was about 11 at night, the doctor told me what had happened and said he could not do anything for my leg so I was referred to Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching.”

In Kuching, the doctor also said his leg had to be amputated.

“I had to listen to them. I am just thankful that I am still alive,” he said, adding that he still had burnt marks on his arms and body from the unfortunate event.

Tan said he could still remember how his injured leg looked like.

“It was dry and seemed to have been barbequed.”

Last year, he applied for a prosthesis and finally got it on Thursday.

People told him his new artificial limb might hurt his knee, but he was determined that nothing would stand in his way.

“No matter what, I must walk again. Even if it hurts, I must walk until I get used to it. My aim is to be able to work again and earn a living,” said Tan, who added that he could drive despite not having a right leg.

Click here to read the full news report at Borneo Post: I must walk again — Kanowit resident