My new Ferrari leg

Shaun Williamson was first diagnosed with cancer at 14 years old. By his nineteenth birthday, Shaun had lost one lung and his right leg above the knee to the disease.

After his final round of chemotherapy, Shaun received a prosthesis on the NHS but he found it fragile and cumbersome “My initial prosthesis was really painful to wear and just slowed me down.” Shaun’s go-getter attitude pushed him to ‘just get on with things’ and he ditched the leg in favour of crutches “I felt confident on them, they’re like an extension of my arms.”

One evening in 2008, Shaun called for a locksmith after being locked out of his car “The locksmith sent over someone to help. His name was Ian - and he and I just got chatting. We ended up keeping in touch and has since become like a big brother to me.”

“One day, Ian said ‘We need to get you a leg’. But to me, having a proper leg was like wanting a Ferrari but knowing you would never have it – so I had simply stopped wanting one.“ Unbeknownst to Shaun, friend Ian had been working on a plan of his own. “Ian rang me asking to meet at the pub. He had also invited his new neighbours Cathy and Luke over who I had met once before.”

Cathy sat down next to Shaun and started talking about her brother, Ben Murphy. Ben, who had also lost his leg due to caner, had recently passed away. “Cathy told me how Ben had always wanted to be a donor, but as he was unable to do so, the family really wanted to donate his new prosthetic limb.” “I didn’t know what to say! What do you say to someone who giving you the ability to stand on your own two feet again….thank you just isn’t enough.This is my Ferrari." 

Shaun came to Dorset Orthopaedic in August 2015 to be was fitted with the donated Plie knee and a Veri-Flex XC foot. During his initial consultation, he voiced his concern over socket comfort due to his very short residual limb. He wanted a leg that was comfortable to wear, stable and robust. “The Plie from Freedom Innovations comes with a stumble recovery function which will allow Shaun to gain confidence in walking, alleviating strain to his sound side and my hope is he will eventually walk without the use of crutches. The new Veri-Flex XC foot from Ossur offers good energy return and ground compliance, giving the wearer a smooth natural walk and helping improving socket comfort.” Says Shaun Annandale, Shaun’s prosthetist.

“I’ve walked properly and comfortable for the first time in 17 years. I can’t wait to be rid of my crutches…but in a weird way, I’m going to miss them”. “I’m so overwhelmed, I’ve still not dared to believe this is actually happening. I’m eternally grateful. It’s a bit strange…I’m on two legs. I’m over the moon, I’ve always had to fight for everything, and this seems surreal. After 17 years on crutches, my concern now is…what do I do with my hands?”