September 25, 2022

The condition is often fatal

A bodybuilder awoke from his coma to discover that surgeons had removed his arm after a bicep curl injury at the gym developed into a “flesh-eating” disease.

Gabriel Lieschke pulled his right bicep when doing bicep curls at the gym, believing it to be a pretty standard injury despite it requiring routine surgery to fix. But just three days after leaving the hospital, he was rushed back with his arm double the size.

Lieschke developed necrotising fasciitis, often referred to as a “flesh-eating disease.” The condition is quick and often spreads throughout the body an inch an hour. Antibiotics are often employed to combat the infection, with surgeons removing the dead flesh to stop its spread.

Via GoFundMe

Lieschke underwent 11 massive surgeries and was subsequently induced into a coma to heal.

“Basically it was touch and go, it was like three days after the surgery, a locum came out and said,’ Right off to hospital’, rushed me in and I don’t recall those three days at all, the infection took over and ruined my memory,” he told the Young Blood – Men’s Mental Health podcast. “Basically, I was put into a coma, and it was a question or not of whether I was going to live, they just had to keep chopping parts away.”

He said his dad called friends to say: “It looks like Gabe’s going to die.”

“I had 10 years of training behind me when I tore my bicep… In the year leading up to tearing my bicep I started boxing… I felt so good about myself,” he continued. “It was surreal, it didn’t compute, it was like what am I looking at?”

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But Lieschke refused to give up, and friend Edward Noble, who is organising a GoFundMe, detailed his friend’s resilience. Via GoFundMe

“When Gabe regained consciousness the first thing he said to me was ‘I just have to beat this’ shortly followed by ‘I think I want to do track cycling’,” Noble wrote. “Since then, Gabe has made astonishing progress.”

Now Lieschke is riding 10+ hours a week, “taking part in races at a national level, and taking up countless other disciplines.”

He now hopes to compete in the 2024 Paris Paralympics.

Continuing to explain how the money will be used, Noble wrote: “My goal is to raise $26,544 for Gabe through the form of a cycling challenge known as Everesting.

“The rules are simple: ride up any hill, anywhere in the world, multiple times, until you reach the cumulative elevation of Mount Everest (8,849m), in one push, without sleep.”

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