LEAVING work in 2000 was like any other day for Ferndale man Kelvin Cook.
The keen motorcyclist had knocked off after a long day at a Gosnells supermarket, where he had been manager for several years, and was keen to get home to his wife and two kids.
The next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital as an amputee.
His right leg above the knee was removed after he was thrown from his motorbike when an elderly driver crossed into his lane – but Mr Cook (58) said that’s a story for another day.
“When I woke up without a leg I thought my life as I knew it was over,” he said.
He was given a sleeve and socket, the standard prosthesis given to amputees, but opted out and used a wheel chair and crutches to avoid using the fiddly and uncomfortable attachment.
Amputation did not slow him down; he travelled the world in his chair and became a support person for fellow amputees by visiting them post-operation in hospital.
“At the time (I became an amputee) there was not a lot of peer support… (so) I founded Amputees in Action,” he said.
Although the organisation is now defunct, Mr Cook continues to lend support to fellow amputees online and through amputee body Limbs 4 Life.
“It’s daunting for people not to feel ‘normal’ but there is life after amputation and there is help if you need it; it is helpful to talk to others,” he said.
Last year Mr Cook became one of 200 amputees world wide to receive an implant-like prosthetic called Osseointegration, which has put him back on two feet for the first time in 15 years.
“Knowing what I know now I would have sold my house to get it sooner,” he said.
According to Limbs 4 Life, there are more than 200,000 Australians who have had a limb amputated.
Visit www.limbs4life.org.au for more.