A dad who developed painful tumours on his feet chose to have BOTH legs amputated – and said it was the “best decision he ever made”.
Alexander Helander, 29, said the voluntary below the knee amputations mean he can finally chase after his baby son Samuel, one.
Six years ago the school teacher developed new tumours every week – often the size of golf balls – and they were so painful he could barely walk.
Faced with early retirement, he opted to have both limbs surgically removed in a bid to give him more freedom.
Surgeons warned the risky op could leave him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but Alexander took the risk.
Nine months on, he’s never felt better, and thanks to prosthetic running blades he is back jogging and chasing after his son.
Alexander, who is expecting another son with pregnant wife Emmy, said: “Before my amputations, my feet were in such bad shape from the tumours that I had no choice but to amputate.
“We had tried every treatment and nothing worked.
“My alternative was to retire from work and lay in bed for the rest of my life – and I wasn’t ready to give up on life like that.
“Having my two amputations was a long and painful process, and building up to walking on prosthetics took a long time, but it was so worth it.
“Having the amputations meant that now I can do all the things I enjoy, like sit-skiing, floorball and even running with my blades on – which is the best feeling ever!
“I feel like I’m part of society again now. I’m going back into work for a few hours a week, and the pupils I teach think my prosthetics are really cool.
“Overall, having the amputations was the best decision I ever made.”
Alexander from Löddeköpinge, Sweden, suffered with a condition called Dupuytrens contracture since aged 15.
It causes non-cancerous tumours in his hands – but a more severe form of the condition spread to his feet in 2014.
He wasn’t able to put pressure on his feet due to the pain – and he would discover new tumours every week.
Medics tried laser treatments and even radiotherapy but nothing worked and by 2018 he was using a wheelchair.
He said: “Every time we tried a new treatment I’d get my hopes up, but they never worked – that was a real low point for me.”
Doctors warned amputation was risky and could leave him in a wheelchair, but he added: “It was worth the risk for me.
“I told them that’s what I would be doing without the amputations anyway.
“I couldn’t be active and I didn’t have much of a social life by this point either, so this was my last chance to get my life back.”
In October 2019, doctors removed his right leg and he said it was “painful as hell” when the anaesthetic wore off.
His second amputation was done in mid-February 2020.
He said: “Before the second surgery, I wasn’t even nervous – I was just excited.”
Just four weeks later Alexander started to walk using prosthetics, in August he went back to work, and in October he was able to start running.
A cute video shows his baby son copying his dad when he sees him jumping in his running blades.
He said: “The first time using both my prosthetics was strange, like walking on very small stilts. But it was amazing not to have the pain in my feet like I used to have.”
His wife Emmy is due to give birth to their second son in February 2021.
He said: “I have a lot of people write to me and tell me they find me inspiring, which is amazing.
“I know not everyone has the power to change their situation in the way I did, but I hope my story inspires people to try to change their own lives for the better, even if it’s hard work.
“I want my sons to see they should never give up, even when things are hard – life can be so much fun as long as you fight for what you want.”
“I don’t regret a single thing – my amputations gave me my life back!”
You can keep up to date with Alexander’s journey on his Instagram page – @ampisallen