ONE day before his wife went into labour with his first daughter Martha, Matthew Hutchinson was diagnosed with a deadly bone cancer.
The Almondbury educational psychologist had thought the pain in his leg was a five-a-side football injury.
But, in fact, it was a tumour which led to the astonishing reconstruction of his leg.
His thigh bone, knee and the top of his lower leg was removed and replaced with an internal prosthesis, which was meticulously pinned to the existing bones.
Now, Martha is 20 months old – and Matthew is about to set off on a 10-mile walk for charity.
The former primary school teacher, 40, who lives with his wife Alex and children Charlie, 4, and Martha, said: “I had what I thought was a sports injury in December 2007.
“I had quite a lot of physiotherapy during the spring of 2008, which obviously didn’t help.
“Then I went through the process of the diagnosis of a tumour, an oncologist at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and a biopsy in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham in summer of that year.
“Alex was pregnant with Martha and I had a diagnosis of sarcoma on my left femur on September 23. She went into labour the next day.
“It’s hard to articulate how you feel during something like that.
“Martha was born at a dark time but for me she represented what was good and hopeful. She was just one of the things that helped me be strong.”
Around 150 people a year are diagnosed with bone cancer, one of the diseases most serious forms.
Matthew began nine months of chemotherapy as an inpatient.
Doctors told him that amputation was a last resort and that the tumour was in an accessible place.
In January last year a prosthesis to replace the cancer-affected areas, including a knee replacement, was attached to the bottom third of his thigh bone and painstakingly pinned and cemented to the remaining lower leg bone.
He said: “For the surgeons in Birmingham it was routine but it is amazingly skilful and they did a fantastic job for which I’m hugely grateful.
“It was entirely successful and then there was intensive physio.
“I had been a keen walker and I had the massive motivation to get a good level of fitness because of the kids and the family. I wanted to be mobile and strong.”
Almost a year-and-a-half later and Matthew is about to walk 10 miles around Hathersage and Stanage Edge in aid of the Refugee Council and the Challenge Fund, which tackles cancer in developing countries.
He said: “I’ve always thought refugees are a very marginalised group and both of these charities give me a chance to do something positive.
“Charlie knew I was poorly and there were massive demands on Alex with a new baby.
“On the surface it’s about raising money for two good causes that matter to me, but indirectly it’s a thank you to my family and all the people who supported me and got me to where I wanted to be.”