Flesh-eating bacteria victim: 'I was begging - don't cut my arm off'

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - A local man is back home from the hospital, recovering after a flesh-eating bacteria infection took his arm - and nearly cost him his life.

Ever since he was a teen, Michael Money has worked - all his life, made his living with his hands. And now he's fighting to keep a firm grasp on the only thing he knows.

"I was in the tire business for 20 years," he says, never dreaming that a cut on his hand would cripple him.

"I was working on my pickup truck. I was changing the steering box on the pickup truck, and I cut my knuckle on the inside fender well," he says.

Michael didn't think anything of it.

"I just kept working. I didn't wash my hands until later that day - and that's how it got infected."

So he went to the hospital, but the infection spread rapidly.

"I was begging them - please don't cut my arm off," he says.

But there was no other choice. The flesh-eating bacteria threatened more than just his arm.

"If you don't stop it, it gets into your heart. You can die," he recounts. "They immediately put me in one of these beds, and I was being put down by the anesthesiologist."

When Michael awoke his right hand and forearm were gone. And for a man who makes his living with his hands, succumbing to his new normal just wouldn't do.

"I miss not working - so that's the only thing that's got me," he says. "I can't sit home and do nothing - that's not me. I've got to keep going and keep going."

He has a plan.

"I'm trying to get a mechanical arm," he explains.

It's something thats been successful for others before him. But a mechanical arm can cost between $40,000 and $60,000 - money that Michael just doesn't have.

"I still get enough to barely live. I'm not making it. ... It turned my life upside down."

And he's on a mission - to raise enough money for a mechanical arm.

"I don't want to stay home. I want to go back to society," he says.

On the brink of a new year, this man who's made his living with his two hands since he was 17 years old now hopes others will see his heart.

"I've got a lot of work left I can do," he says.


If you would like to help Mike, visit his website at