An ex-England cricketer left in excruciating pain by a tumour which ravaged his leg has crowdfunded £15K – to have it chopped off.
Rob Franks, 39, thanked donors who helped him complete the “quest to become legless”, seven years after the tumour and nerve damage left him on crutches.
The three-hour operation, unavailable on the NHS because it was deemed unnecessary, saw his left leg amputated above the knee.
Rob, who raised to smash his £19,000 fundraising target, said: “The chronic pain I had before my operation is gone.
“The only problem was the scale of the operation because the surgeon had to remove all the metal in my leg before amputation – in a sense it was double surgery.
“I’m relieved that it is now done. It has been a long time coming but I can start to recover and become the husband my wife deserves and the dad my children need.”
Dad-of-three Rob is head coach for Ellingham cricket club, Hants., and has been capped six times by England Disability Cricket.
He had a bone tumour removed from his left leg in 2011 after it was spotted when he was hospitalised with a sports injury.
The operation left him with permanent nerve damage, in need of crutches and a wheelchair.
Rob decided to join a disability cricket team but his thigh bone shattered as he stepped forward to hit the ball in his second match.
His shin pads were the only thing that kept the bone from tearing through the skin on his leg and the noise was so loud that the whole pitch heard it.
Surgeons managed to repair the break with pins, plates and a metal rod during a four-hour op, but Rob was in agony – and was later told the fracture will never fully heal.
Rob, originally from Frome, Somerset, said: “I have every intention of going back to cricket coaching and also getting back to playing for Middlesex disability county cricket club and also my club team Ellingham.
“Middlesex are allowing me to work with the first team physios to get fit again.
“The NHS didn’t deem the operation as needed and said I should be able to manage the pain on medication – but like I said many times that the medication didn’t work.”
Rob has started physiotherapy and will soon begin learning to walk on a prosthetic leg.
In a post after the operation, he said: “A huge thank you to everyone who has shared, donated and supported us in our quest to raise enough money to become legless.
“Last night at 7.30pm I had my leg removed, we had a few issues and ended up in intensive care. Thankfully I was out this morning, I have had my first physio session today so my ‘legless journey’ begins now.”
He also praised his family for seven years of patience and love.
“If I wasn’t for the love and support of my amazing wife Carla and my children Oliver and Harry then I wouldn’t be able to do this,” he said. “Couple that with the support of my mum Sally and best friend Paul.
“Of course also a massive thanks to all the supporters, you have all made a huge difference, with sharing, donating and just being there.”