London News & Search
A Londoner who asked doctors to amputate his leg 10 years after a snowboarding crash is taking part in a 10km run to inspire others to take up sport.
Charlie Lewis, 32, was on a season in the French resort of Val d’Isere in 2004 when he hit a pile of snow at speed, snapping his board and breaking his right leg below the knee.
He then fell down the mountain for “about 50 to 60 metres”, breaking his leg in several other places. He was airlifted to hospital and spent three weeks under observation.
At the time, however, he didn’t appreciate how bad the injury was. “I was 19, so you think you are indestructible,” he said. “I just wanted to get back on the slopes before the end of the season.”
Over the next 10 years, Mr Lewis went through 15 operations, including four major reconstructions, in a bid to save his leg. Finally, in 2014, he had it amputated below the knee. He said: “I was very much leading the charge with the amputation which is quite rare.
“I had known for years that it was a possibility and after years of operations I just wanted to get rid of it and get on with my life. I am someone who cannot sit still, so being in and out of hospital and not being able to run or do sport was torture.”
Mr Lewis, who works in commercial property, said the amputation was a relief as it “was a long time coming”. However, he said, “had I woken up after the accident and it had gone I am sure that would have been very different”.
Within six months of the amputation, Mr Lewis, who runs with a blade, completed the Pyongyang marathon in North Korea, the Afghanistan marathon and several Iron Man competitions. He has set his sights on next year’s London Marathon and wants to complete it in less than three hours.
In October he will take part in the City Runs Shoreditch 10km. Mr Lewis, who lives in Putney, said he hoped he would inspire others. “Most of the time my running has been about me,” he said. “My recovery, my journey. This one is the first thing I have done to try and inspire other people to run. Maybe if people see I can do it, they will realise there is no excuse for them.”
City Runs takes place on October 8. Visit adidascityruns.com/shoreditch
London News & Search