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Vasyly Rohovyy

Vasyly Rohovyy

Uniquely Inspirational, Pioneering Surgical Transplant of Both Hands



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Vasyly Rohovyy’s life story is truly remarkable. His mind blowing events and the current path he is on set him apart from anyone else in the world today. Through his talks he is inspiring and motivating people world-wide to either reclaim all or parts of their own lives and also appreciate and maximise the opportunities gifted to us.

In 2000 Vasyly lost both hands and his left eye in an explosion when he accidentally picked up a shopping bag in Ukraine. His right eye was also badly damaged. He spent the next five years together with his family in an exhaustive search of a hospital that could help him. In early 2005, five years after his accident the University Clinic of Innsbruck contacted him from Austria informing Vasyly they could help with pioneering surgery. In May 2006 two donors hands were successfully transplanted onto his wrists in what can only be described totally miraculous surgery.  The surgery was so successful that Vasyly fondly recounts the moment he reached down to wash his ‘new’ hands and felt the warmth of the water for the first time.

Before the hand transplantation Vasyly had also wanted to improve his fading eyesight. There was considerable risk in this surgery which he was aware of, but having had success with the hand transplantation he had faith. After many eye operations and a lot of perseverance and optimism unfortunately his eyesight worsened. The world was becoming darker and darker and Vasyly increasingly scared. And then one day night fell permanently.

For five years after the explosion Vasyly kept thinking that his life wasn’t really a life at all and that there couldn’t be life without hands and without eyesight. Mentally he was forced to find a new ways just to get by.

It took Vasyly all of those first five horrible years to realise that he had have been putting off living his life. At the time he recounts losing the five years of his life to hoping and looking for any good news. Putting his name on the waiting list for the hand transplantation gave him a new strength that he didn’t know that he had. He immediately changed his entire outlook upon life. He went to university again, stopped hiding from people and became the person he had been in Ukraine, more confident both in public and in his private life.

Vasyly conveys a very real view of his new life. Without eyesight and with transplanted hands life remains difficult, but he now fully appreciates what he got. He sees problems, and difficulties now as minor obstacles there to be overcome.

His optimism has helped transform his life in every aspect. He graduated from Innsbruck University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts, he married his sweetheart and they have a daughter. His hobbies are swimming and learning languages. He is fluent in five languages and is learning Chinese at this time and Persian and Japanese will follow.

Vasyly spent many very difficult years in a foreign country, without family, money, vision, hands, but he really wanted to survive and he did. The next great instalment of his life involves pioneering transplants of real eyes so that he may hopefully see again.

By sharing some of his experiences with others he helps inspire people to reclaim their lives and do more with the opportunities we have.

Vasyly’s motto is a simple one:  ‘Life is a one time gift.’

  • 'Life is a one time gift.'

    Vasyly's motto ...

  • Vasyly Rohovyy 'Life is a one time gift.'
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