Heading home to the Fens - Billy Lee,20, with his £70,000 state of the art prosthetic leg paid for by thousands of well wishers
- Credit: Archant
Billy Lee was heading home to the Fens last night – complete with a £70,000 state of the art prosthetic leg paid for by thousands of well wishes.
Waiting for the 20-year-old cancer victim at his Wisbech St Mary home was his mother Bex who said: “I cannot wait to see him climb out of his car on two legs.”
Billy has spent two days at an orthopaedic clinic in Dorset where the artificial limb was fitted.
His prosthetist, Shaun Annandale, said “Billy has done remarkably well. I am really happy with the way in which he is adjusting to his new prosthesis – his resilience and determination are truly commendable”
His colleague at the Dorset Orthopaedic Company Tracy Annandale said: “What a very determined and lovely young man he is. It was humbling to watch him test out the new leg.
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“Wednesday was spent getting the leg ready; the clinician had to programme it especially for Billy using a laptop.
“Billy tried it out for the first time and took some serious strain, but he was happy and determined.
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“Once people come to us they become part of the family, the leg he has is fantastic, all singing, all dancing.
“It is humbling to watch patients try out their new limb for the first time.”
She added: “This stuff is life changing. Absolutely brilliant.”
An appeal launched at the beginning of the year raised, within eight weeks, the £70,000 needed for the prosthetic leg: well over £30,000 has been added since which will pay for ongoing replacement of parts.
Billy was diagnosed with bone cancer, a 10 cm Sarnovia Sarcoma aggressive tumour in the top of his right femur on November 14 last year, 15 days before his 20th Birthday.
His femur broke through the stress of the tumour on December 1 making him bed bound in Addenbrooke’s hospital for eight weeks. He underwent two sets of high dosage chemotherapy treatments in the hope of reducing the tumour and to ensure it had not spread further with the hope of having a half hip and femur replacement to save his life and leg at a later stage.
His mother said: “Results on January 14 this year were not as we had hoped, the Sarcoma is a more aggressive cancer than originally thought and although the cancer had started to die from the centre, and it had not reduced in size but thankfully had not spread.
“Billy’s only chance of surviving was to have an immediate full leg and half hip amputation which took place in Birmingham a week later”. Consultants told the family that Billy would spend the rest of his life on crutches or in a wheelchair as the NHS was unable to fund a prosthetic limb for an amputation of this kind.
The family researched prosthetic limbs and eventually found a clinic “able to give Billy his life back again.” The ‘Helix 3D’ leg and hip prosthetic cost £70,000 with five yearly servicing and part replacements each time costing £18,500.
Dad Spencer said his son’s electrical course at college has been placed on hold during rehabilitation and his employer is keeping open his apprenticeship.
“As parents we want to see our courageous son continue with his work plans, walk down the aisle, have his first dance, take his children to the park....the list goes on,” he said.
Mrs Spencer said: “We never thought we would reach £70,000 so to reach £100,000 so quickly is beyond belief. It’s just amazing. I’m stuck for words. Thank you to everyone for their continued support.”
She said: “He has been through so much since November and he has coped incredibly well, we are so proud of him.
“Behind closed doors, he has had to come to terms with not having a leg. It’s a lot for a young man to have to go through. “There are ups and downs, so we take every day as it comes.”