Jeremy's story - C-Leg 4
New NHS funding helps amputee Jeremy to stay active and travel the world.
Snowsport loving Jeremy Wood has spent 27 years living life as an amputee. He lost both his legs in 1990 after a car accident during a golfing weekend with old school friends in the Peak District. Despite his injuries, Jeremy has not let anything stop him from doing what he loves, and his new C-Leg 4 microprocessor knee is now helping him to keep a very important promise…
Jeremy was just 29 when his car hit a greasy patch on a mountain road, spinning out of control and colliding with another vehicle before being catapulted into a nearby field. “Luckily, I was the only one seriously injured” says Jeremy who has always maintained a positive mindset. His catastrophic injuries led to the loss of both his legs; the left leg was amputated below the knee and the right leg above the knee. Following the accident, he resorted to using basic mechanical prostheses before receiving specialised funding in 2002 for an earlier version of the C-Leg, the world’s first microprocessor controlled knee. “I was lucky enough to be an early adopter of the C-Leg, which was a real change from the prostheses I had been using” says Jeremy. “I immediately got on with it and didn’t have to think any differently. The C-Leg helped to reduce the pain in my stumps, hips and back and I appreciated the feeling of being in control whenever I went out”.
With a lifelong interest in winter sports, Jeremy soon became an active supporter of the charity Disability Snowsport UK, successfully joining them as a trustee in 2003. Just one year later he was asked to take on the role of Performance Director, responsible for rebuilding the British Paralympic Alpine Ski Team. Success ensued, with Jeremy taking the squad to the Winter Paralympics in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010, and developing the strategy that led to Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s impressive performance in Sochi in 2014, when the team came home with their first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal and many others beside.
After spending many years of his life fighting to receive the C-Leg and its subsequent upgrades, Jeremy was delighted to hear that NHS England had approved the policy to fund microprocessor knees for many hundreds of people living with limb loss every year. “Going from having to battle to get my C-Leg all those years ago to now having a choice of microprocessor knees, it was an easy decision to remain with the C-Leg” says Jeremy. “The trust I have in the product is worth its weight in gold”.
Launched in 1997 and in its fourth and most advanced incarnation, the C-Leg 4’s greatest strength is helping people achieve independence. Numerous features including real-time swing and stance phase control combined with strengthened stumble recovery support mean that the user can take every step with confidence. The new intuitive stance function recognises when the person has stopped and dampens the knee in a flexed position to offer maximum stability and comfort. Providing greater mobility, the C-Leg 4 adapts to all walking situations in real time, whether on level ground, stairs, ramps or varying surfaces, and walking backwards is closer to natural, anatomical movement than ever before.
Following a successful 38-year career in London’s financial sector, Jeremy has now retired and is already fulfilling the promise he made to his father 20 years earlier; to travel the world. Accompanied by his father and his son, these three generations recently spent three months circumnavigating Australia and enjoying activities including zip lining through a rainforest, known as jungle surfing. Jeremy has already planned his next extensive trip, this time with his wife venturing to the exotic climes of Thailand and Vietnam in South East Asia.
“The main advice I can give other amputees is, if you really want something in life, go for it and don’t be afraid to ask”, Jeremy continues. “With belief in yourself and hard work you can achieve anything”.
The C-Leg 4 is now available through NHS England. For more information, download our guide on our MPK NHS Funding page or speak to your prosthetist.
NHS England has made the momentous decision to approve the funding of Microprocessor Controlled Knees (MPKs) for those living with above knee, through knee and hip disarticulation amputations.
The funding means that amputees will have access to one of the safest and most popular MPK's on the market – the C-Leg. The C-Leg is the most widely used MPK across the world with more than 60,000 fittings carried out for people with transfemoral amputations since 1997. C-Leg is the most clinically studied microprocessor knee, is extremely reliable and has the ability to help people achieve independence.