I first met Richard Nieveen at a Paralympic Potential Day in 2009, having lost my left leg below the knee several months earlier. From that day I knew I wanted to go to Richard for treatment. Once I had persuaded my solicitor of my choice of prosthetist I started to attend at Proactive Prosthetics and since then I have not looked back.
Richard fitted me with the most comfortable socket and forgiving foot – the next best thing to my old human foot. I have since been fitted with two high definition legs with skin-effect silicone cosmeses, custom made and colour matched with the highest degree of care and attention to detail. One of the legs has separate toes, enabling me to wear thonged sandals, the other is set for a high heeled shoe. My fourth leg is a Flex® Run blade, which has restored to me a tremendous sense of freedom and possibility.
I enjoy regular cycling and running and more infrequently, skiing, snow boarding and horse-riding. I intend to return to climbing, and hopefully will try mountaineering.
I no longer feel there are any limitations on what I can do and I cannot emphasise enough how much the dedication of Richard, Kevin and the team has meant to me, in terms of helping me return to my pre-accident levels of activity. I always knew losing my leg would be challenging, but thanks to Richard, it is a surmountable challenge. I have returned to work and also volunteer for a charity (set up by another client of Richard’s) providing prosthetic treatment to disadvantaged children overseas.
Although it has taken a while to build my life back up, it is now very full and I am probably more active than I was pre-accident. Given the chance to have my own leg back, I don’t think I would change what has happened. I cannot be sure I could say the same if it were not for Richard. I owe my recovery to family and friends, of which I count Richard as one.
One of the aspects of utmost importance to an amputee’s successful rehabilitation is the relationship they have with their prosthetist. I am lucky to have a very good rapport with Richard. He always listens and problem solves in a very logical fashion and the design and assembly of my prosthetic limbs always feels very much a team effort, although all I have to do is don the leg and start walking. I am always intrigued by the range of skills exhibited by an excellent prosthetist; a fusion of art and science.
Richard will only fit patients with equipment that will genuinely benefit them and I trust implicitly in his judgment. His socket design is second to none in terms of comfort and his choice and assembly of components has always been spot on.
Attending Proactive’s clinic is always a pleasure; it is most unlike any other medical establishment I have attended in that respect. There is a sense of being part of a family at Proactive and yet the set up is also incredibly professional. There is a good camaraderie between patients and I enjoyed meeting other amputees at the 10 year anniversary.
I don’t think I would have regained my independence if I did not have the benefit of being treated by Richard, Kevin and the close knit team. I could not recommend the treatment and the unstuffy, no nonsense, yet empathetic, approach more highly.