At the young age of 17, I was playing a lot of football and tennis. I rolled my ankle over and didn’t think much to it for a few weeks and went on holiday.
Returning from holiday I could barely walk dragging my leg which seemed to look like a swollen ankle.
After a doctor’s appointment they decided it was broken and I was in a cast for 6 weeks.
Returning to the hospital, they decided to do an X-ray and MRI scan. On 10th Sept 2009 they diagnosed me with a rare form of primary bone cancer called osteosarcoma. My journey of 1 year in hospital having chemotherapy at St James's Hospital started and an amputation in Birmingham New Year’s Eve to survive. Around 135 people in England are diagnosed with osteosarcoma each year and overall the five year survival rate is only 42%.
I am grateful every day that I am still here but there isn’t a day I don’t wake up and look down and ask myself why me? Limb loss is an ongoing journey that never stops, and you constantly have to change with it.
The biggest achievement with my journey is that I am willing to accept who I am. I had to adapt in my recovery from chemotherapy and learned to walk again with a prosthetic.
Life’s a river just go with it. You have to accept and fight against what it thrown at you with a positive attitude to survive.
My strengths were my family, friends, and ultimately wanting to live a life again and enjoy my chance to live after being told slim chance of surviving.
Since my diagnosis, I have achieved so much. In 2012 I was 1 of 8,000 to be selected as a London torch bearer, then I played Wheelchair Tennis for Great Britain Paralympic Team 2012-2015 winning Bronze Medal at the World Team Cup beating Japan and most recently for the past 3 years have been working for one of the biggest food companies in the world, Nestle, as Business Manager looking after Asda.
I’m sharing my story to raise vital awareness because this is the difference between surviving and not. There are so many stories of misdiagnoses which cause delays which can be the difference of having a chance to live.
Listen to your body and get checked! To my fellow amputees we’ve got this!