Emma Hartwell with her children image

Emma Hartwell with her child imageAs the saying goes, “Life begins at 40” — and for a Gloucester woman who lost her leg to two rare conditions, it has never been more fitting.

Mum of three Emma Hartwell has, particularly in the last six years, been through a lot. She lives with two conditions — Behcet’s Disease, which causes inflammation in small arteries and vessels, and autoimmune condition Relapsing Polychrondritis (RP), which causes inflammation of cartilage and connective tissue.

The combination of these two conditions has, in recent years, led to emergency surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm in her leg, 28 hours of open-heart surgery and the prospect of yet more risky surgery to relieve her of chronic leg pain. It was at this point Emma made the difficult decision to have her leg amputated.

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Today, thanks to the support of family, friends and a host of amazing fundraisers, Emma is back to being the active mum she wanted to be with the help of the world’s most advanced microprocessor knee prosthesis, the Ottobock Genium X3.

Through the ‘Legless At 40’ campaign, more than £75,000 was raised for her to have the prosthesis, as well as specialist rehabilitation and bespoke sockets from specialist clinic, Dorset Orthopaedic.

The Genium X3 enables her to walk more confidently, go up and down stairs with ease and go swimming with her family both in the local pool and the sea on holidays, as it is fully sand and waterproof.

Most importantly though, it enables her to pick her children up for a cuddle and play with them.

She said: “Things I used to struggle with, I no longer have to worry about. Being able to pick my children up, or play with them on the floor, is priceless. And they see I’m more confident too. Before, they used to be a bit hesitant around me, and now they just run up to me like they did before. Being able to join in with the everyday is just amazing.

“I can’t thank the people who raised the money for my new leg enough. Those who ran races and held music events and dances, to those who made and sold jam, and anyone who donated — I think they’re all amazing and I’m keen to show them all how much I can now do.

“Having this leg has removed a lot of barriers for me, and for that I’m enormously grateful.”

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