Emma is a fantastic mum to three spirited little people, wonderful wife, loving daughter, caring sister, fabulous friend, and thoughtful psychologist. She makes a mean treacle tart, can remember the lyrics to any song she's ever heard and does an excellent imitation of a glitter ball if given a few cocktails. She is also an above knee amputee.
Emma has Behçet's disease and Relapsing Polychondritis (more info below). After a horrendous few years health-wise, which included (and this is just a snapshot) emergency surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm in her leg, 28 hours of open heart surgery, and extreme pain in her right leg, she made the difficult decision to have her leg amputated.
Over the last two years Emma has worked hard to get her life back to how she would like it to be. The NHS has been fantastic. They have saved her life far more times than seem possible and supported her to walk again. Unfortunately, yet understandably, their funding only goes so far. Emma has achieved so much, but we would like to help her achieve even more by getting her a new leg that should make life easier for her. As you can imagine, they're quite pricey, so we're asking friends and family if they would be willing to chip in anything they could afford.
When Emma was very unwell and in hospital people often asked what they could do and we were never sure how to answer that. Emma really appreciated all the love and good wishes, but we've now thought of something we can actually DO!
Emma turns 40 in November 2017 (sorry to make that so public, Em!) and we think a new leg would make a brilliant birthday present. She would need some time to break it in, which is why we're starting early, but we would love it if she could celebrate the new decade with a super-duper new leg.
The leg that Emma has been recommended is the Genium X3 by Ottobock. It is "the world's most technologically-advanced microprocessor prosthetic leg", and it would allow her much more control while walking, even in difficult terrains, and give her an easier, more natural gait. It also greatly reduces the risk of falling, which would allow her to concentrate on other things (such as small children!) while walking and, we hope, increase her confidence in walking. It also senses when to bend and when to lock, as opposed to Emma’s current leg which she has to push back on or it will give way.
The estimated cost of the leg is £40,000 and Emma would require appointments with a private prosthetist to fit it. We are therefore looking to raise £45,000.
Thank you x
What is Behçet's Disease?
Also called Behçet's syndrome, it is a rare, complicated and chronic disease. In the UK it is estimated that there are around 1,000 to 2,000 sufferers. It causes inflammation of small blood vessels across the whole body, which leads to a range of symptoms. These symptoms include ulcers, skin lesions, eye inflammation (which can lead to blindness), fatigue, severe joint pains (arthritis), bowel problems and blood clots. Less commonly it can cause neurological problems, and also inflammation of the veins or arteries. Behçet's disease cannot be cured, but symptoms can be treated, for example with anti-inflammatory medication. There are now three specialist centres within the UK that treat patients with Behçet's disease. For more information please see the Behçet's Syndrome Society website (http://www.behcets.org.uk/).
What is Relapsing Polychondritis?
Relapsing Polychondritis (RP) is a very rare, chronic autoimmune condition. It causes repeated episodes of inflammation of the cartilage and other connective tissue in several parts of the body, usually affecting the ears, nose, throat and lungs. Inflammation can also affect the ribs, joints, eyes and heart. The inflammation is very painful and can also be destructive, leading to collapse of cartilage once the inflammation settles. As with Behcet's Disease it cannot be cured, but can usually be controlled with immunosuppressant medication.There are often periods where symptoms flare up, followed by periods of 'remission'.
The New Leg
If you are interested in knowing more, take a look at their website (http://www.ottobock.co.uk/prosthetics/lower_limb_prosthetics/prosthetic-product-systems/genium_x3-prosthetic-leg/#video-1). There are details about the legs and knee, and some real life stories that can provide you with some more insight about how these legs can improve the quality of people’s lives.