‘I thought my life had ended’: Amputee runs for first time
A MOTORBIKE rider who thought his life was over after a high-speed crash left him with a partially amputated leg has fought back to reclaim his life.
Graham Crowden suffered a broken pelvis, two broken arms and had part of a leg amputated after a four-wheel-drive collided with him, in a high-speed Bundaberg crash in 2017.
A once very active man, Mr Crowden spent 12 months in a wheelchair and underwent 25 operations.
"It was horrific, I thought my life and usefulness had come to an end," he said.
"I used to run 10km a day.
"I spent 20 years in the defence force, and when I got out in 1999 I stayed fit the whole time, so the accident and being in the wheelchair left me 20kg heavier than I should have been."
With help from family-owned Nambour business, Dynamic Prosthetics and Orthotics Australia (DPO), Mr Crowden recently ran for the first time since his accident.
"It was a hell of a time for me, but I've had a recovery, as much as you could call it a recovery, and now I'm walking and in fact, something I'm really proud of is me running on the treadmill," he said.
"I still have a long way to go, but it felt so good to be able to run for the first time in two years.
"I ran about half a kilometre, and now I won't relax now until I'm able to run 10."
The biker, who returned to riding three months after his accident, said without the team at DPO he never would have been able to reach for his old life.
"For people who have lost limbs they couldn't get anywhere near what was their normal life if it wasn't for Dewet, Steve and the staff there at DPO, they just couldn't do it," he said.
DPO senior prosthetist and orthotist Dewet Heyns said he was extremely passionate about his job.
"Everyone likes to think they have the best job in the world, but I think we do, because you have people coming in, in a wheelchair and then walking out the door," he said.
"When you have people like Graham coming in not as active as they would like to be and then end up running on a treadmill, it is incredible."
After operating in Nambour for nine years, Mr Heyns said he hoped the family business provided a point of difference to other national corporations.
"I feel incredibly fortunate to be in the position to do these things, and I think the key is not taking it for granted and to treat everybody as importantly as you would the last," he said.
"A lot of amputees and orthidic patients that come over to us say that they just feel like a number after a while, so that's why it's important to us to be independent and a family-owned business."
After losing 10 kilos Mr Crowden is hoping to compete in a Bundaberg fun run in June.