‘Why am I doing this?’ I couldn’t run at the park or playground. I hid my pain from my parents for years. When I spoke to them, they were shocked.’: Man surprises parents with life-changing decision

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“If you would have told me in April 2017 I would be running the 2018 London Marathon, I would have never believed you. This time last year (mid-May 2017), I had just received my first walkable prosthetic leg, following my amputation in late 2016, and started to walk with two crutches. It is with great pride I am able to say I have completed a marathon. And here’s how I did it:

Before May 2017, I had not walked without pain since the age of 9 due to a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It’s a neurological condition that affects pain signals and causes intense pain. To be honest, it made my childhood very difficult. Growing up, I had a lot of other issues with close family members and bullying at school, so I tried as much as possible to keep the pain to myself. I’d often isolate myself from social situations and I struggled to identify with my peers. I missed out on playground games and making connections with other members my age.

I was a full-time wheelchair user, unable to use my right foot due to severe pain. This meant I was not able to place any pressure on my right foot, let alone wear shoes or socks. If I was outside in the rain or wind, I would have to come inside and running was certainly out of the picture! I made the difficult decision to amputate that part of my leg. My parents were very anti-amputation. Because I tried to hide my pain for so many years when I eventually spoke to them about it, they were very shocked. Because my amputation was elective, they struggled to realize I desired to have my leg amputated to give me a much better quality of life.

Courtesy of Jamie Gane

After a few weeks on my prosthetic, I had progressed to walking without aids and getting used to life on two legs and out of a wheelchair. As with any new amputee, my stump was shrinking rapidly and I was ready for a new prosthetic. I felt confident on my leg and as though I was ready to run. Through the support of Blatchfords, I was given the ability to run through becoming an ambassador for the Blade XT.

I vividly remember my first run and today it still stands as one of the best days of my life. If you imagine your childhood, I’m sure you remember running round the park or playground with your friends, playing ‘tag’ or ‘capture the flag.’ As a child I was never able to do that so receiving my running blade and the freedom the came with running, opened up my mind and heart to the world. I was determined to do everything I could within my power to make the most of the opportunity I had been given.

Courtesy of Jamie Gane

I spent the next 2.5 months running as many events as I possibly could and ran over 150 miles until September, when I needed to have revision surgery due to complications from the initial amputation. I remember appreciating the rest but also being back in a wheelchair for a few months was very difficult to accept after such an amazing and active few months. I knew the surgery was necessary for my stump so I persevered until I was given the all-clear to run in Jan 2018.

I was determined to train for the marathon, but I’m convinced the universe was trying to stop me. I had never-ending physical barriers from a chest infection, to a broken big toe to continual colds, etc. Nevertheless, I was given an opportunity to represent a great charity and I never like to say no to a challenge. It never occurred to me to defer my entry. Even if I needed to walk or crawl, I was crossing that line!

The Knights Foundation are a charity based in Hampshire/Surrey/Berkshire and they help to provide support for disabled young people, their families, and young carers. I first started working with the charity in 2017 and was grateful to be even considered for their marathon spot.

Courtesy of Jamie Gane

Just a few days before the marathon I was given a new prosthetic socket which generally takes a week or two to adjust to. My Blade XT was comfortable and I was feeling great mentally; I was nervous yet excited. As I was running I couldn’t help but reflect on the past year and think how 2017 Jamie could never even imagine the possibilities of 2018 Jamie.

I can now proudly say I have completed a marathon – something I never could have imagined. My whole life has almost been like a marathon and my perseverance has kept me going. I am so thankful for the support of the Asics Frontrunner Team for their assistance, advice, and motivation when I doubted my abilities. A huge thank you to the Knights Foundation for allowing me to represent them at the London Marathon; may we help to inspire others to achieve. I couldn’t believe I had just completed the London Marathon. Just 8 months prior, I had been a full-time wheelchair user. At that point, I told myself I’d never run another marathon – that certainly didn’t last long!

Courtesy of Jamie Gane

I would like to offer another huge thank you to Blatchfords for allowing me the opportunity to run, to feel freedom and to inspire others. My Blade XT has opened up my life and may I continue to put the Blade XT through its paces through the 2018 season.

I’ve never really been someone to sit and analyze whether I feel I would be able to achieve something. Thinking about the feeling of accomplishment, pride and exhaustion at the end of challenge helps to motivate me to achieve. Focusing on the ‘here and now’ in a situation can really ground you into realizing why you are pushing yourself to achieve incredible achievements. Although the challenge can be difficult and the pain levels high, focus on the how. Why am I doing this? Why did I think I can do this? Scrap those thoughts and think about HOW you’re going to do this.”

Courtesy of Jamie Gane

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jamie Gane of Basingstoke, Hampshire. You can follow him on Instagram here or his website here. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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