Captain Gregory Galeazzi has traded in his helmet for a stethoscope after being accepted to Harvard Medical School.
Being accepted to the famed institution is famously challenging, with a 3.7% acceptance rate. The Afghanistan veteran had a much rougher journey than most to get his white coat, losing limbs along the way.
Loyola University’s Army ROTC is where Greg’s military career began. After a grueling training, including the prestigious US Army Ranger school, he was deployed to Afghanistan. During a patrol, a roadside bomb blasted the platoon leader, making him feel like he, “was an empty coke can on train tracks getting hit by a freight train moving at 100 miles per hour.”
There was no pain medication available, and Galeazzi passed out due to the pain. Luckily, his soldiers were well trained and were able to stabilize him until a helicopter arrived. Doctors had to amputate both his legs above the knee and had to perform dozens of surgeries–over 50 in total–to repair his shattered right arm. He also had to stay at the hospital for months and do hundreds upon hundreds of physical therapy hours to regain his strength.
The harrowing experience he had in the hospital did not deter Galeazzi from pursuing medicine, in fact, it strengthened his resolve. Taking night classes, he was able to learn the materials from 18 courses, and score high enough on the Medical College Admissions Test to apply to medical schools. Being accepted to Harvard Medical School made Galeazzi, “grateful … [he] survived [his] injuries, and still [has] talents to share with the world.” What kind of doctor does Greg want to be? “A good one,” he says.
From here, his positive attitude and strength have allowed him to experience, “some of the most amazing, fulfilling and enriching of my life since [his] injury.” This included re-learning the guitar and, through his work with Musicorps, an organization that helps wounded veterans pursue music, playing on tour with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. Re-learning how to ski with modified equipment called a mono-ski gave Galeazzi the chance to enjoy a hobby he loved pre-injury once again.
He was also blessed to meet his now fiancee, Jazmine Romero, in his pre-medical psychology course. Jazmine and Greg are planning to be married by next year.
Galeazzi’s life has taught the important lesson to, “be patient with difficult times … with time things do get better.”