Weʼre raising £62,000 to Help Fund My New Legs!
- Buckingham, United Kingdom
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I have opened a JustGiving page to raise money for an operation that I desperately want to change my life.
I'm raising £62,000 for the surgery - I have already raised £52,000 (if you look to the top right you may be confused as it says I've only raised £5,919 but the rest of the money is in a bank account as JustGiving take 6.5% of the money donated on the page.) ... so I still need £9,780.
I was born prematurely at 28 weeks with my twin brother Tom, due to a condition called ‘Twin-to-twin Transfusion”.
To put in perspective how ill me and my brother were and how unlikely it is that were are both here today, here are the odds. Roughly 1.5% of babies that are born are twins, and only 20% of those are conceived identically i.e. not through IVF.
Out of those 20% only 5% of them are identical and 10% them the condition that we had. If you’re unlucky enough to get TTTS (Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome) the chances of both twins surviving is only 10%. Also, there was a 20% of us developing cerebral palsy and a 15% chance of developing brain damage. If you add all this up, the odds that I am standing here with my brother today is 1 in 1,041,667.
The doctors had never documented a case like ours before; they never thought we’d end up in a mainstream school, let alone University.
The consequence of the condition was is that I developed blood clots in both my legs, which led to the amputation of my left leg through the calf at 18 months old. In addition to this, my right leg was left severely damaged with no main artery meaning that it is very hard to keep warm, as circulation is limited. I have no muscle or fat tissue so it’s very exposed with little protection, so even walking on hard surfaces is a challenge for me, my foot is in a fixed position after having various surgeries, making mobility difficult but I try to overcome as much as I can.
I have now exhausted surgery to help improve my mobility, by having over 20 operations in Great Ormond Street Hospital on both legs (including corrective surgery on my toes). This is my last option to live a life where I feel as free as I want, this operation would really change my life giving me a limitless future.
I have had 30 operations in my life so far and I'm 20 years old. I have worked out that I have been under anaesthetic for 105 hours of my life - 4.5 days I cannot account for because of this. On average, the recovery time of the operations are 2 months. 60 months I have been recovering - 5 years - 1/4 of my life I have been recovering from surgery.
I just want to live as much as a normal life as I can and this operation will do just that but I need your help.
The procedure I would be having is called Osseointergration and has been carried out in Australia since 2006, with the number of patients increasing steadily over the years. Today, nearly 500 people have benefitted from the procedure, 86 of which have been below knee. Currently it isn’t available on the NHS. The procedure consists of taking out the bone marrow and inserting a metal implant that the bone grows around and stays permanently in the leg, working similar to a tooth implant. The surgeon who will be doing the operation is an Iraq refugee who fled to Australia during Sadam Hussein’s regime. He developed the procedure after assessing previous attempts by two other surgeons, and has introduced a permanent solution to many amputees who can’t get on with a typical prosthesis, reducing the recovery time from 18 months to 3 months.
If you’re interested in seeing how it works look at:
(It says it’s in two parts but has been perfected and modified so it’s only a one-stage operation.)
However, as this surgery is going to be so life changing I was told in order to have it, I would have to have my right leg amputated too, as it is not possible to have my left leg (prosthetic leg) done on its own due to it being my most dominant. I am in constant pain in my right leg and feel like I have dealt with it for as long as I can. Not only that, I was told that after this surgery I will have to weight bear through both my legs and my right leg is simply not strong enough to hold my body weight evenly and enable recovery.
This surgery will be a permanent solution to improving my life as there really are so many benefits to it all, such as being able to stand up in the shower for the first time and increasing my mobility so I can enjoy sport so much more. As it is done through the bone, I will be able to feel what surface I’m walking on, whether it’s carpet, wood or grass. I will no longer be wearing the prosthetic sockets anymore, meaning nothing touches the skin. This will prevent sores, neuromas, skin breakdown and overheating (all of which I suffer from). This will also reduce my visits to Dorset Orthopaedic Clinic to my prosthesis cast, fitted and delivered; cutting out 3-4 visits every time I need a new leg (every 9-12 months). It doesn’t just affect me physically but also mentally, as all these appointments really take it out of me.
I have worked out that I have driven enough miles going to appointments that I could've driven around the entire world. In my opinion thats enough driving for me.
However, the only down side to this surgery is that it is only available in Australia and will cost £136,000 (2x £68,000) to cover all surgery expenses for both legs. I am having the operation on my right leg first on 30th May 2018. I will then fly out again and have my left leg done (this date is yet to be confirmed). Therefore, I have created this just giving page to ask anyone who is willing to please donate and help me raise the money I need for this life changing operation.
The operation isn’t yet funded by the NHS but would save them a lot of money and could help so many other people like me that have a prosthesis. The procedure hasn’t been done on many people at all, as most people don’t even know that it exists. Raising awareness for this is extremely important to me because there are so many people that could benefit from it.
I will also be donating 10% of every donation to Great Ormond Street Hospital to help children in similar situations who spend so much time in hospital and to further the hospitals research.
If you would like to support me in fundraising and creating awareness, please SHARE and spread the word! Donations will be hugely appreciated. Thank you.
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- 1 year ago
James Bertrand1 year ago
I started this page 4 months ago, since then, from everyone's support, we already raised a massive £18,750! Thank you to everyone so far who has helped in supporting my cause.
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James Bertrand started crowdfunding
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Nov 22, 2018
Hi James, I read a newspaper article about your fundraising. I grew up in Chalfont and now live in Sydney. I told my family the story and everyone agreed we should contribute. All the best from us!!
Sandra Alexia Moulinier-Wagner
Sep 18, 2018
Dear James, I have discovered this awareness fund website thanks to your beautiful sister Sophie who has shown us on her stories your amazing work and I want to support you regularly.Best, Sandra xx
Good Gal RhiRhi
Sep 3, 2018
Hope the weekend went well!
Sarah Orecchia, Unbeelievable Health
Jul 10, 2018
You are such an inspiration.Best of luck!!
Jun 17, 2018
Jun 9, 2018
Hi JamesHere are some more funds kindly donated from members of GX Golf Club Everyone down here are pleased first op went wellBest WishesFrom us all
Jun 5, 2018
Wishing you all the best James. Karl from Garden Matters told us about your story. Best regards, Lance Jordan & Leonora Daniel.
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About the fundraiser
Buckingham, United Kingdom
I would welcome all the support you can give to help me raise money for my new legs and creating awareness for other amputees like me who don't know that this surgery exists.