A woman who narrowly avoided having her right leg amputated over 40 years ago is celebrating after raising £12,000 towards the cost of a new ‘super leg’.
Dawn Marie Simpson of Thorp Pyn Croft, Dalton, was a 15-year-old pupil at Deighton Secondary School when she developed a bone tumour and had to have radiotherapy. Two years later she says medics wanted to amputate it but she refused them permission even though she was told she would die.
She went on to live a fulfilled life with four children and became a grandmother.
Sadly, however, five years ago in July 2012, she was finally left with no choice but to have the leg amputated at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham, and says the prosthetic replacement was not ideal.
So friends and family began a fundraising campaign to raise £15,000 which now stands at the £12,000 mark and she went to thank Year 6 children at Dalton School for raising £850 for her – all Dawn’s children attended the school. She hopes to have the full amount shortly.
Dawn said: “All I remember is that I was 15 and had left school when I started getting cramp-like sensations. I was not in pain but I went to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, (HRI), for an X-ray but they couldn’t see anything wrong.
“We didn’t have a home phone so the police were sent round to see me and I was readmitted to HRI where they carried out a biopsy. I didn’t understand how serious it was it was.
“Then I was sent to the Cookridge Cancer Hospital in Leeds for several weeks of radiotherapy.
“When I was 17 I realised something was very wrong because it was an evening appointment and they broke the news to me and my mum Mavis.
“I couldn’t get my head round it at all, it was awful. Nothing made any sense. I felt OK and I thought I was recovering. When I had to go back to see them a couple of weeks later they wanted to know what my decision was.
“They said: ‘if you don’t have it you will die’ but despite the warning I refused to have the operation. And obviously I’m glad I didn’t as I got to keep my leg until I was 56. The staff at Birmingham called me ‘the amazing lady’!
“When I had the amputation I was given a prosthetic leg but it took from three to 15 minutes to put it on.
“In fact, just looking at it made me upset.
“But I began fundraising two years ago and people have been so kind. For example, my grand-daughter Dayana Dawn made 1,000 cupcakes and I must thank my son Daniel’s girlfriend Hayley Eastwood, Winifred Campbell and her daughter Maxine as well as Alison Himsworth and everyone at Dalton St Paul’s Methodist Church.”