AT THE age of just 32, Lance Smith’s life was changed irreparably when a freak industrial accident led to the amputation of his left leg.
The limb was crushed against a truck by a 10-tonne digger driven by an unlicensed labourer, at a building site being developed by his employers in Clarence Parade, Southsea.
But 14 years have now passed since the ordeal, and the father-of-two is gearing up to embark on his biggest physical challenge to date – when he climbs Mount Kilimanjaro next August.
Not only symbolising his determination to succeed in life since the accident, the ascent will take place in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society – in the name of a dear relative currently battling the disease.
‘My brother-in-law Rob Davies was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago,’ said Mr Smith, 46 from Southsea.
‘I’ve always called him my big Rob because since my sister Kim married him, he’s been more like a father figure or a real brother to me than my own family.
‘But sadly, he has got really bad really quickly – and it’s devastating to see him how he is now. He is a completely different person to the Rob I knew before.’
Immediately after Rob was diagnosed, Mr Smith said his sister became a ‘true hero’ and dedicated her time to caring for him.
And as a charitable return for her unwavering efforts, he said he is ‘super excited’ – and unfailingly confident – to climb 5,598m-high Mt Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, in 12 months’ time.
He said: ‘After the accident happened, life was turned upside-down.
‘Because I was such a driven and physically active person, it felt as if life itself was going to end.
‘But to put this climb into perspective, my prosthetic leg is decorated with the Super-Man logo – I have never been more determined in my life and I already know I’m going to make it to the top.
‘This will be my biggest physical challenge to date – and I know I am very lucky to be alive – but nothing stops me.’
To donate to Lance’s sponsored climb, for the Alzheimer’s Society, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/lance-smith