Love, Life and Limbs Restored

For Josh and Melissa Bryan, it was love at first sight. Though these high school sweethearts parted ways when Melissa went to college, they rekindled their relationship five years later at a family wedding.

Just a month after reconnecting, on New Year’s Day 2016, Josh was in a devastating accident while on a trip to Thailand. He and his brothers had rented scooters to take in the idyllic island views when tragedy struck.

“We promised each other we’d take it slow, but that all changed as soon as I got in my accident.” - Josh Bryan

Josh Bryan

At a tight turn, Josh lost control of the scooter and found himself wedged between the guardrail and the ground. Both femurs were badly broken. He narrowly escaped becoming a double amputee. 

When Melissa, now a nurse at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, heard the news and saw Josh’s condition rapidly declining, she bought a one-way ticket to Thailand and spent the next six weeks by his side.

“We promised each other we’d take it slow, but that all changed as soon as I got in my accident,” Josh said. “She saved my life.”

Josh endured months of infection and pain before being cleared to fly to the U.S., where he sought care from Jason Stoneback, MD, Nate Donaldson, DO, and our Limb Restoration Program team.

Thus began a long road that ultimately led Josh to a rare and innovative set of surgeries never before performed anywhere in the world – a journey that fundamentally changed his and Melissa’s lives.

So many patients come to CU Anschutz after being told there are no more options for them, no hope for the future. Through the skilled hands of our providers, many of them get their lives back. 

“The Limb Restoration Program has been amazing,” said Melissa. “There are so many layers to it, from physical therapy to emotional support. It has helped us come back into our lives and be the people we want to be.”

Today, married with a baby girl and another baby on the way, the family is focused on doing what they love. For Josh, that includes returning to his roofing business and being on the move again.

“The Limb Restoration Program has been amazing. It has helped us come back into our lives.” - Melissa Bryan


The Bryans say the care they received here has been life-changing, strengthening a love born nearly two decades ago.

“This experience has gotten us so much closer as a couple,” said Josh. “It made our bond stronger, and it’s made life so much better.”

It is the patient-centered, team-based care we offer on our campus that has made a transformative difference for Josh and Melissa, and so many others under our care. Our spirit of innovation and collaboration drives us to create solutions and find paths forward when they aren’t always clear. Josh’s story is a testament to that.

With Gratitude,

Don Elliman

Don Elliman

CMS Login