Jamie Gane and I met around a year ago through a mutual friend and since then I have followed him as he progressed further on in his journey.
I find his story incredible. When i first thought about the “Guest Spot” project i knew i needed to get Jamie involved. He has shown me so much about adaption and over coming. Adding this to my already adaptive way of thinking has made me very much a “go getter”
I recently got together with Jamie who agreed to have a chat with me and tell abit more about his condition and his Journey!
Jamie, your a lower limb amputatee that never seems to get held back. And its fair to say you dont let it slow down either.
For so many this is a massive inspiration, if you dont mind telling us, What actually happened?
I developed a condition at the age of 9 which initially affected both feet. After multiple operations, the pain condition became worse and developed into a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
Due to this condition, I was unable to use my right foot at all – I wasn’t able to place any pressure on my foot or wear shoes or socks.
If I was to go out in the rain or wind, I would need to quickly get back inside as it was too much for my foot. This ultimately lead me to becoming a full-time wheelchair user.
And how old was you when your life changed?
At about the age of 16, a doctor spoke briefly about amputation as a passing comment. Despite his swift talk, I was adamant to investigate the potential of amputation.
As a young person, I had already undergone 25+ surgeries and was ready to remove the pain. Despite this, it took me 6 years to find a surgeon that was willing to amputate my foot.
Eventually it was done in 2016 and in June 2017, I received my first prosthetic leg and started walking for the first time in 14 years.
For many people reading this, having your leg amputated would seem a negative life changing event. But in some cases taking the plunge to have a limb amputated could infact be a positive move forward! would you agree with this?
Absolutely! Amputation, for me, gave me the chance to be free, a chance to live without pain.
Even waking up post-surgery, I immediately felt so much better and my concentration levels started to increase.
I found myself coming off of medication and life started to have a purpose.
Tell us a bit about your initial build up to having surgery, I mean it must have been a terrifying time for you but at the same time there must have been an element of excitement?
All the way up to the day of surgery, I was very excited about the procedure (as excited as anyone can be about an operation anyway).
I was nervous that it would not remove the pain however I was ready to start the next journey of my life.
So Jamie I want to take you back to those first moments! you have had surgery and you have now woken up with a below-knee amputation!how did you first feel about your new situation?
I started to feel completely different even in the first few days – my pain was gone and I started to think about how I was going to live my life.
I had fought so hard to have my amputation that I didn’t realise how much energy I used thinking about the operation itself.
Once it was gone, I had a new space in my head to start thinking about new possibilities.
I see that you are an international competitor in judo. And I believe you have managed to bag a few silver medals aswell. Well done! what got you into judo in the first place?
Started Judo at quite a young age however when my disability started to escalate, I had to stop.
I think with any sport, if you have the passion there, you will return. Once I had my amputation and that had healed, I was ready to go again and start Judo.
Now I currently play Squash, like you in my chosen sport I am the only squash player in the world with a lower limb disability of my kind.
My goal when I first started was to compete against able bodied players. since then I have played in local competitions.
Moved on and started playing in club leagues and in April I will be playing in the European masters. do you think you would ever be in a position where you could compete in an able bodied category?
Don’t worry, you aren’t the only squash player in the world with a lower limb disability – I know plenty of lower limb amputees who play.
Thats awesome maybe we need to get together and arrange our own League.
All of my international competitions are against those without any physical disabilities.
I am not allowed to compete in Judo with a prosthetic leg so I simply have to hop around the mat and try to trip people up.
Would love to get into more disability-focused sports such as sprinting.
I would love to see Judo to be made into a Paralympic sport. It currently has a visually-impaired classification however I would love to see this expanded into Physical disabilities.
I think it is so important to be able to inspire others with disabilities and open their eyes into what is achievable.
Certainly think there is a need for it.
Lets move on to Tough Mudder! you are an Ambassador for the competition, and a little birdie told me that you have infact completed more courses than any other adaptive athlete! Am I right?
Um….sort of… That is certainly true in the UK. Worldwide, there is another amputee who has completed over 100 Tough Mudder courses however I have completed more courses than him as an adaptive athlete (he was able-bodied before his amputation).
How many courses have you completed?
52 to this date. I have 3 more to complete by the end of this year.
How did you get into tough mudder?
Initially, I completed my first Tough Mudder with a friend of mine while I was a wheelchair user.
I loved the atmosphere, the teamwork and the challenge and I was certainly keen to come back for more.
How does your amputation effect you in this gruelling sport?
You’re dealing with very uneven terrain, which is very difficult to run on often for an able-bodied runner.
Without an ankle to support me, it places a lot of pressure on my knee and hip so completing multiple courses can be very difficult and recovering between runs is very essential.
I’m always having to make alterations to my prosthetic and having to wait for different sockets or liners to be made for me to continue.
My prosthetic certainly takes a bashing so it’s important for me to have a great team behind me to support my sport.
Jamie you are clearly very active! do you think this helped you in your journey from amputation to now?
I think it has – it’s given me something to strive for and a reason to continue
Lets talk abit about 2020! Tokyo! is this still your long standing dream?
Actually not so much anymore.
Unfortunately, I had lots of issues with my recovery when I had my amputation.
The initial planned amputation was cancelled just 10 minutes before the procedure and subsequently my recovery was put back about a year, meaning that 2020 was/is just not simply achievable.
Having said that, I think that it’s now far more important for me to enjoy my sport and at the moment, I couldn’t wish for anything more.
Thats a massive shame! what sport was you looking to compete in?
I was looking to compete in discus, javelin and shotput.
Well never say never! i think we will be seeing you in the Olympics one day for sure!
how is funding coming along?
Just this year, I very kindly recieved the support of a sponsor, Essity, who have been fantastic at helping me achieve my goals.
That awesome! If people want to support and get involved how can they do this?
Please get in touch with me through my website: www.jamiegane.com
Social media pages under Jamie Gane Adaptive Athlete (Facebook and Instagram).
To support my sport, I am a motivational speaker and often work with schools, colleges and organisations.
So please get in contact if you’d like to hear my story in more detail.
Inspiration! I often get told how I am inspirational!
To be honest its those comments that kind of keep me doing what I am doing!
But I am also inspired by people around me.
People like you!
who are your inspirations and why?
It sounds strange but I am actually very inspired by other adaptive individuals who are just cracking on with their own lives.
They don’t need to be athletes or advocates but they are simply keeping their head down and enjoying life.
I have to admit I agree 100%.
Sometimes life itself is the challenge.
Some people just stick their back into it no moaning and get on with what life throws at them.
I believe you have a few events coming up in the next few weeks! tell us abit about these?
In a months time, I have the largest event of the season – World’s Toughest Mudder.
This is a 24 hour endurance race in the US where you run for 24 hours straight with obstacles. It is certainly going to be a challenge!
Well Jamie Can I offer you a massive good luck!
As Well As All That
Jamie as well as all this training, working, blogging and competing you also run a very active social media platform and website!
If people want to follow and keep up to date how would they be able to do this?
Through Instagram (@jamieganeadaptiveathlete),
My website (www.jamiegane.com)
Jamie, we all know that having any form of disability comes with its own struggles.
What final words of encouragement would you tell anyone who is either starting their journey or finding their path?
I always say…Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance.
Keep your head down, crack on but also appreciate where you are.
Appreciate the moment and the small moments you have of peace and really embrace them.
Jamie J want to thank you for offering me a bit of your time to let us see the world from your eyes.
I look forward to keeping up to date with your future adventures,
I will be keeping a keen eye out for you in Olympics in the future thats for sure!