A Fylde father-of-one today told how he has got his life back again – after taking the drastic step of having his leg amputated.
Matt Smith, 38, from Lytham, says he has no regrets after undergoing surgery at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in May to remove his left leg below the knee after the pain from a damaged ankle left him in a wheelchair.
Now he has had a prosthetic limb fitted and is learning to walk again.
His experience has also prompted him to found a charity to help parents like himself who find themselves long-term sick or disabled.
The Fun Foundation aims to organise and finance treats such as trips to the cinema or a theme park, and will hold its first fund-raising event later this month at Ribby Hall, near Kirkham.
Matt said: “The amputation was a very painful experience but I am already up and about on crutches and eventually I hope to be able to walk unaided again.
“Prior to my operation I was wheelchair-bound and in a lot of pain, and although I still have to use the wheelchair at home and rely on my wife Sarah, I have no regrets about undergoing the surgery.
“It has also made me realise how difficult life is for families where a parent is disabled which is why I have decided to set up the Fun Foundation charity.
“If a parent is disabled, the child suffers too and can miss out on simple treats such as a trip to the cinema or a day out.
“The charity is about raising enough money to be able to provide the kind of things which normal families are able to enjoy.”
Prior to his surgery, Matt, who has a five-year-old daughter, had been immobile and in almost constant pain since badly twisting his ankle in February 2010.
Physiotherapy, exercise and surgery had failed to restore his ankle to health following complications within the tendons of the joint.