Fourteen years ago, doctors amputated Donnie Rickelman's hand after a work injury.
On Thursday, he was far removed from that accident and living one of his dreams -- taking his first-ever golf lesson.
It might just seem an ordinary hobby picked up by an ordinary man, but for Rickelman, every swing he takes actually represents the end of a very extraordinary journey.
"I always thought the sport was interesting, but I didn't dare try to play it with one hand," Rickelman told RTV6's Chance Walser.
"I had part of my thumb and then I ended up going back and losing more of the thumb because they had to shorten the bone," Rickelman added.
For years, this southern Indiana man tried to cope with prosthetic hands, but as he said, it's a "two-handed world."
"Everything you do takes two hands, and I didn't have two hands anymore," he said.
In 2009, Rickelman began exploring the idea of a hand transplant when he discovered one of his only few options, Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center in Louisville.
After two years of testing and screenings, they agreed to attempt the surgery.
Thirteen months after the surgery, "I can make a full fist, straighten, wrist is full, full forearm, not much I can't do," Rickelman said.
Rickelman said he still has some tingling in his new hand, but doctors say that could get better.
"He is doing what he is doing today because of someone else's generosity," said Sam Davis, with Indiana Organ Procurement Organization Inc. "They made the decision to be a donor."
For that, Rickelman said he is very grateful and Thursday he expressed that gratitude with every swing of the golf club.
In addition to the golf lesson, Nike presented Rickelman with a new set of clubs.
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