Former England cricketer crowdfunding leg amputation

Rob Franks' injuries will never fully heal


Former cricketer crowdfunding to get leg amputated

A former England cricketer is appealing for help to pay for a leg amputation after cancer left him with injuries that will never totally heal - because the NHS won't do it.

Rob Franks, 39, has had two operations to contain an aggressive tumour in his left knee, suffering horrendous pain that eaves him unable to sleep and dependent on a cocktail of 29 painkillers a day.

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Yet despite his plight, Rob is not eligible for surgery on the NHS, so he's trying to raise £15,000 for a private amputation.

"I'm not the person I was before," the dad-of-two told Somerset Live.

"I'm withdrawn and I cry a lot because of the pain. The tablets don't touch it."

Rob had two bone tumours removed from his left leg which were spotted when he was rushed to hospital with a sporting injury.

But the operation to remove it left him with nerve damage and struggling to get about using crutches and a wheelchair.

The dad-of-three joined a disability cricket team but in his second match his femur shattered as he stepped forward to hit the ball.

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His shin pads were the only thing that kept the bone from tearing through the skin on his leg and the noise was so loud that the whole pitch fell into a horrified silence.

Surgeons managed to repair the break with pins, plates and a metal rod during a four-hour op, but Rob has been left in agony - and the fracture will never fully heal.

Plagued with years of excruciating pain, the brave dad is trying to raise £15,000 to have his leg voluntarily amputated - an op not funded on the NHS.

Rob, from Poole, Dorset - who has been capped six times for England disability Cricket - said: "I don't want to be in pain any longer - I want to be able to play with my two children in the garden.

"I want to be the husband my wife deserves and not someone who is forced to stay at home and not go out on walks and family days due to the pain debilitating me," he continued.

"I'm unable to sleep at night due to the pain.

"I have lost over 50% of muscle tone in my left leg and I'm unable to bend my knee. I honestly can't describe the pain I'm in 24 hours a day.

"I have thought long and hard about what the best thing to do is and what course of action to take.

"My doctor agrees that an amputation would be the best thing for me.

"The NHS won't consider me for an amputation and just want me to continue taking medication to manage the pain, so a private amputation is my only hope.


Rob Franks with his wife Carla, 11-year-old stepson Oliver and six-year-old son Harry

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"It's not that they don't think I'd benefit from it, but I think they are still resistant to the idea of a leg being chopped off when it's not already hanging off.

"The medication that I'm on has altered how I am. I'm not the fun, bubbly outgoing happy person I used to be.

"The pain is getting too much - I cry daily due to the pain and I'm genuinely at the end of my tether.

"I'm not the type of person to ask for handouts and I feel genuinely embarrassed having to ask people who don't know me for donations.

"But I'm at the end of my tether and will do anything it takes to be pain free with a new leg and able to get on with our lives and enjoy the time with my wife and children."

Rob was told he had a four-inch bone tumour in his left femur in 2011 after being rushed to hospital when he injured his knee playing cricket.

The mass was removed but returned two years later - and this time it was seven-inches long.

He tried to get on with his life, even enrolling at a cricket club in Dorset for people with disabilities.

But tragedy struck during his second ever game with the club as he went to hit the ball and his leg collapsed underneath him.

Sleepless nights, mood swings and excruciating pain in his leg led him to make the unthinkable decision to have his leg amputated above the knee.

Rob, who lives wife Carla, six-year-old son Harry and 11-year-old stepson Oliver, wants to raise £15,000 to have the operation done privately.

He wants to use the funds to buy two prosthetic limbs - one to use when playing sport and the other for day-to-day wear.

As he anxiously tries to raise funds for what he hopes will be a life-changing operation, Rob has done his best to focus on doing what he loves.

He qualified as a cricket coach in 2015 and is a Middlesex disability county cricketer.

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