Southsea amputee and fundraiser extraordinaire 'overwhelmed' by fundraiser for bespoke running blade so he can run with his children for the first time
AFTER losing his lower left leg in a horrific accident, Southsea builder Lance Smith threw himself into fundraising for charity – but now he’s on the receiving end of a fundraiser that will allow him to run with his children for the first time.
In 2004, Lance was working on a building site in Clarence Parade when an unlicensed labourer drove a 10-tonne digger into him, crushing his lower leg so badly that it required amputation.
The dad-of-two had loved kickboxing and running – but after the accident, doctors told him that he would never walk or run again.
But the determined Southsea resident has overcome the odds to undertake a range of hiking challenges for charity – including scaling Mount Kilimanjaro - on his current prosthetic.
Now the community is rallying around to help him fulfil his dream of running alongside his two sons, aged 13 and 14, with a fundraiser so he can buy a bespoke running ‘blade’ prosthetic.
The 50-year-old said the new prosthetic would be ‘life-changing’ and mean ‘everything’ to him.
Lane said: ‘18 months after my accident, my boys were born and my boys saved my life. They took all the negativity out of my life. I was told I would never walk again, let alone run again.
‘But I have always been very determined.’
He added: ‘But now when we go on Southsea Common, I’m the one in the goal because I cannot run about. There are moments I have thought I would give anything to run about with them.’
Lance had posted on social media that he hoped to fulfil his dream by obtaining a bespoke running blade from Dorset Orthopedic in Ringwood, which will create a blade and socket that will be specially molded to fit his body, for £10,000.
The owner of Leigh Fitness, a gym in Leigh Park that Lance attends, saw the post and decided that he wanted to help by setting up a fundraising page, which has already drawn more than £500.
Gary Jones, who has owned the gym for more than five years, said: ‘Lance is here on a daily basis encouraging everyone, you never hear him moaning about the fact he has one leg.
‘I saw his story...and it just got the cogs turning. We help put people on the stage with bodybuilding, but we could make a bigger difference to someone’s life and give them that ability to run with their kids.
‘It would be the best achievement the gym could be part of.’
Lance has previously raised thousands for the Alzheimer's Society, in honour of his brother-in-law, by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and £1,000 for Cancer Research UK by taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge – but he’s not used to being the one helped.
He said: ‘I’m not used to receiving any help. When I saw what Gary had done, I was in bits.’
Andrew Kendall, Alzheimer’s Society’s community fundraiser, said: ‘We’re really grateful to Lance for the support he’s given to Alzheimer’s Society through his incredible fundraising efforts which raised nearly £3,500 with his Kilimanjaro trek.
‘Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes. Every penny fundraisers like Lance donate to the society helps us campaign for change, fund research and support people living with dementia.
‘It is wonderful to hear that Lance is now the recipient of other people’s generosity and kindness and we wish him all the very best.’
And the pair plan to put the running blade good use by taking part in the London Marathon to raise money for local charities – but the good cause won’t stop some good natured rivalry.
Gary said: ‘I can categorically say we will run all the way together but in the last ten yards, I will make sure I beat him.’
Lance said he remains focused on running – and outpacing – his boys: ‘I think they are going to be beat me – but I’ve got beat them, show them who the daddy is.
He added: ‘When I run with them, I will be in floods of tears. I cannot put it into words.’
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting the dedicated GoFundMe page here.