An amputee has launched a fundraising appeal for a special prosthetic limb to become a top rower – because the NHS one isn’t WATERPROOF.
Sophie Harris, 31, has suffered a debilitating foot deformity all her life and became an amputee last week.
The mum took the decision to amputate below the knee after years of failed operations.
And she has now appealed for help so she can lead a normal life – and raise the money she needs to buy both life-like and waterproof prosthetic limbs.
The NHS will only fund a “one leg fits all” leg, as Sophie, of Modbury, Devon, has described it.
Not only does she want to “feel like a normal woman” again, Sophie also wants to achieve her life-long dream of becoming a professional offshore rower.
Before the operation last week, Sophie got the chance to go out on the water with the Mayflower Offshore Rowing Club, based in Stonehouse in Plymouth.
Having always swam, rowing is something Sophie set her sights on one day having a go at – and even excelling at.
But if she wants to take her dream further, she will need a waterproof limb.
“It felt amazing when I was on the water. It gave me a sense of life beyond; there was nothing clinical about it.
“I was offered the amputation two years ago but I was too stubborn and strong and was determined to get through it.
“I really thought surgeons’ efforts would pay off, but unfortunately my body said otherwise.”
Since birth, Sophie struggled with Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTE), also known as club foot, and underwent multiple corrective surgeries to help her walk normally.
She said she was determined not to let her amputation beat her so has set up a gofundme page to help raise to money.
She said: “It took me a while to conjure up the strength to do this, as I felt like it was me letting my guard down.
“Because I’m a young female, there just isn’t the support available to help me due to my age. This really is my only option.
“I don’t even know how much I will actually have to raise; I’ve only put £15,500 as a target as a blank aim. It’s not like there is a section on eBay for them.”
Sophie had six operations on her foot in just over four years before taking the decision to amputate and said she now wants to be a role model for her teenage daughter.
She added: “She is a tough cookie but she also needs a role model and somebody to look up to.
“I don’t want to be somebody who is stuck on the sofa. I want to stand up straight and for nobody to know I only have one leg.”
Despite currently recovering from her life-changing surgery, Sophie said after the operation she felt “cleansed” and said it now feels like a chance for her to have a “fresh start”.
She said: “I have had fantastic care at Derriford Hospital, and all staff, family and friends have been incredibly supportive.
“But now I want to be as independent as I can, but I feel like there isn’t a lot of support for somebody like me.
“I want to have a prosthetic limb for sports, but I also want one to allow me to get out and feel good and like a female.
“I don’t want to feel like a bionic woman. I really want to aim high.”
To donate visit www.gofundme.com/b7bsm5-get-my-independence-back