North Saanich resident Ron Broda has been working his way towards getting a new leg, all by help from the community.
Broda lost his lower leg when he was struck by a vehicle at Ogden Point in 2013.
A few years later he started a Go Fund Me Page and has so far raised almost $7,000, which he said isn’t too shabby.
“It’s a long way from my goal (of $108,000) of course, but then it was a very big goal because of the cost of the procedure,” said Broda.
He said it’s been an interesting experience for him, as he has a hard time asking for any kind of help, let alone asking for money.
“One of the things I emphasized when I started the program is that my intent is that this will not only benefit me but will benefit other amputees and the way I see that is two-fold actually,” he said.
The procedure Broda is after is called osseointegration, and he said he’s convinced it will be the go-to treatment for amputees.
“It is the closest thing to a natural leg or arm that an amputee can have and it prevents so many other associated issues that amputees have.”
He said the procedure would provide better balance as the prosthetic is actually attached to the skeleton, so you’re better balanced, and it gives you a better sense of feel, eliminating the need for a socket.
“Because it’s not that well-known, our medical system is very good in that it does recognize treatments outside of the country that are beneficial,” said Broda.
There are two other amputees he’s aware of that have received funding from medical services plan to have the treatment done in Australia, and a friend of his is there now recovering from it.
“The challenge is in order to get that approved by medical services and or in my case ICBC, they require the referral of a surgeon,” he said, adding that not a lot of surgeons are aware of the procedure.
He said he found a lot of surgeons are reluctant to recommend something they don’t know a lot about, but frustratingly don’t seem to be willing to learn more about.
“The frustration I’ve run into is none of the local orthopedic surgeons that I’ve talked to, even though I’ve provided them with case studies and other information, have really been willing to make a recommendation in one way or another on my behalf,” said Broda.
He was at an information session in Burnaby in the summer where he met an orthopedic surgeon who’s actually interested in becoming trained to do this procedure himself.
“He’s agreed to see me, but he has to follow a system so he needs a referral,” he said.
Broda said a referral has been made for him, but now it’s a matter of waiting to get his recommendation on the procedure.
He said right now it’s about getting the word out there so the procedure is better known and better accepted by more doctors, so it’s easier for amputees now and into the future to access it.
“Ideally, hopefully this surgeon in Burnaby will get trained and the procedure actually will be done here in the province and people won’t have to leave the country to do it.”
Australia, he said, is the place that’s had the most success with it with over 400 of the procedures.
Currently, Broda has three prosthetics. The one for work is about $15,000, the one he uses for his general walking is another $15,000 and the one he has that’s meant for the water for swimming or the shower is $7,000.
“They wear out, they need to be replaced roughly every three years, depending upon how active you are,” he said, adding that he’s still fairly active.
To donate go to gofundme.com and search for A New Leg for Ron.