'My closure': Man's peculiar and 'morbid' Christmas present

Ash Cant
·3-min read

A young man has received a peculiar gift just in time for Christmas, after surviving a horrific crash earlier this year.

In July this year, Canadian Justin Fernandes was walking home when he was struck by a motorcycle, the impact severing his leg.

At the time, Mr Fernandes was just 24 years old and after being treated at the hospital, he received treatment at a rehab facility, CTV News.ca reported.

Just before Christmas, Mr Fernandes received a peculiar present, the preserved bones of his severed limb, which was what he needed as a way to grieve.

“This was my closure, basically,” Fernandes told CTV News.ca.

“This is how I wanted to grieve.”

After putting out a message online to a page dedicated to taxidermy Mr Fernandes got in touch with the Prehistoria Natural History Centre (PNHC) in Canada.

Justin Fernandes lost part of his leg in a hit and run earlier this year. Source: Facebook/Prehistoria Natural History Centre
Justin Fernandes lost part of his leg in a hit and run earlier this year. Source: Facebook/Prehistoria Natural History Centre

“Faced with one of the most traumatic incidents a person could go through, he made a tough and unusual decision - he wanted his leg back and he wasn't going to take ‘no’ for an answer!” PNHC explained on Facebook.

According to the post, one taxidermy studio quotes Mr Fernandes thousands to prepare the bones, if he could get them released himself.

“I was sickened by the attempt to take advantage of a person just trying to find their own sense of closure,” PNHC added.

“So my entire team and I at the Prehistoria Museum rallied together to make his dream a reality!”

Victim turns his severed leg into art

Not only did the museum work to get Mr Fernandes’ leg, but also made sure he didn’t have to pay for it to be restored.

“A mountain of paperwork and literally almost 100 phone calls and emails later, Justin's leg was released to us,” the PNHC post explains.

“I ate all of the costs, and my staff Dan Malette , Noelle McKim and Tobias Boch turned an entire severed, refrigerated, leg into this beautiful, rearticulated specimen.”

Mr Fernandes admitted to CTV News.ca his family thought the whole thing was “morbid”, but he had a very different take.

Justin Fernandes' leg was preserved and presented to him by the Prehistoria Natural History Centre in Canada. Source: Facebook/Prehistoria Natural History Centre
Justin Fernandes' leg was preserved and presented to him by the Prehistoria Natural History Centre in Canada. Source: Facebook/Prehistoria Natural History Centre

“To me, turning that morbid, sad object that people would just dispose of and forget, I wanted to turn it into art basically, and that’s what I see, when I see it, art. I think it’s beautiful,” he said.

While the process meant a lot to Mr Hernandes, it seems as though it also meant a great deal to those working on the project.

“Despite only being 24 at the time, he is one of the bravest and strongest people I've ever met,” the PNHC post says.

“While families can't reunite for Christmas this year, Justin and his leg will be together again for the holidays.

“Huge thanks to Justin for trusting us to be a part of this special moment and for insisting we share his story.”

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