SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — When Kendra Cucino hopped onto the back of her husband’s motorcycle last summer, she never expected she wouldn’t return home that night.
Cucino and her husband were riding down Route 44 in Glocester back in July when a car “came out of nowhere” and slammed right into them.
“She went right through the stop sign,” Cucino said of the driver. “She crashed right into the bike, causing both my husband and I to go airborne.”
The car’s impact crushed Cucino’s lower leg and foot. When she looked down at her right leg, she was traumatized.
“I just kind of blacked out from there,” she recalled.
Cucino said while she vaguely remembers the crash itself, she’s thankful she remembers what happened afterward.
As her husband carried her off the road, she said a complete stranger ran over to help.
“He applied a tourniquet on my leg and he stopped the bleeding,” she said. “The paramedics said that if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today.”
But despite the mystery man’s efforts, the trauma surgeon couldn’t save Cucino’s lower right leg.
“My heart dropped,” she said when she learned of the amputation. “My entire world got flipped upside down.”
But the 31-year-old fitness competitor refused to throw in the towel.
Cucino said thanks to Peter Mollo, owner of Peter Mollo Fitness in Johnston, she’s making remarkable progress.
“He’s not only helped me physically, but he has mentally put me in a better space and together we set goals,” Cucino said. “He has completely taken me out of the rut that I was in.”
“I’m focused and excited to be able to walk again and without Peter, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she continued.
Mollo said the most important part of Cucino’s rehab is to help her get used to walking with a prosthetic limb.
“We have to build up her quads,” he explained. “We have a ton of stuff for quad activation, hamstring activation and core stability … and we do a lot of upper body work as well.”
While Cucino is appreciative of Mollo’s support, she’s also extremely thankful for the man she credits with saving her life.
“If it wasn’t for him, my daughter wouldn’t have a mom,” she said. “I’m just grateful for him taking the time to stop.”
Cucino said the man left immediately after applying the tourniquet to her leg, so she never had a chance to thank him or even learn his name.
“For him not to take credit for this, it’s just absolutely amazing,” she said. “I just can’t thank him enough.”
Cucino said she and her husband were the only two people on the scene who saw the man, and neither remember any defining characteristics about him.
“It was just a miracle [that he stopped],” she said. “I only caught a glimpse of him … and my mind is just blown. It’s unbelievable.”
She’s hoping that by telling her story, the man will remember her and want to reconnect.
But in the meantime, Cucino has set her own goals, including eventually competing in the Paralympics.
“I’ve always been known as a go-getter,” she said. “I want to set a great example not only for other people but especially my daughter.”