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‘A leg for a life’: British Columbia man looks forward to amputation due to flesh-eating disease | Globalnews.ca

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Vancouver firefighter Christopher Won said he feels lucky to be alive after a devastating diagnosis while on vacation forced him to have his lower leg amputated.

Won contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and potentially fatal disease, while traveling with his family in Asia.

“At the end of the Singapore phase, literally the morning we were leaving Singapore, I woke up and my foot was a little sore,” Won told Global News.

“It was hard to carry the weight but, you know, you think you get older and you spend a lot of time walking. We stayed up all vacation.

However, he said by the time they got to the airport and onto the plane, the pain was excruciating.

They landed in Hong Kong and Won said he tried elevating his foot to relieve any pressure, but nothing worked.

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Won knew he had to go to the hospital.


Click to play video: “Nova Scotia truck driver who lost leg to flesh-eating disease receives work permit again”


Nova Scotia trucker who lost leg to flesh-eating disease receives work permit again


At first, doctors thought it was compartment syndrome, but once they took a look, Won said they knew it was necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease.

On Valentine’s Day, Won underwent surgery – the first to examine the disease and the second to amputate his lower right leg.

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“I don’t know if I’ve completely processed it yet,” Won said of losing part of his leg.

“I’m grateful to have my life. It’s a small sacrifice, a leg for a life, with my family for the rest of my life. As far as the treatment or even mentally, the preparation, I think now that it’s done, I don’t think about why…. I don’t think about how things could be different. I just think about what I need to do to get home.

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Christopher Won at Hong Kong hospital.

Christopher Won at Hong Kong hospital.

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Won said they still don’t know how he got the infection. He has still not been allowed to return home to Vancouver.

“Pure chance, you know,” he said. “I don’t think you can live your life in the shadow of this fear. Like, you do what you do. You wash your hands. Take care of yourself.”

A GoFundMe set up to help the family has now raised more than $100,000.

“I like to be alone and hear and feel the support of hundreds of people, many of whom I don’t know, you know, support from so far away,” Won added.

“I just want to go home and get well.” Again, I don’t know how to deal with this or I’m still figuring out how to absorb this and really understand it because it’s amazing.

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Won said the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services have been supportive.

“I’m just working hard to get home.”

Won’s wife, Marie Hui, who many may know for singing the national anthem at Vancouver Canucks and Whitecaps games, has been by her husband’s side every step of the way.

She told Global News she is doing her best to stay strong.

“We’re both very optimistic about what’s happening,” she said. “We see an improvement in his health trajectory on a daily basis. Tubes are being removed from different areas of his body. So the worst is over. And that was the worst.

The couple has two children and Hui’s parents flew in from Vancouver to care for them.

Christopher Won and Marie Hui and their two children.

Christopher Won and Marie Hui and their two children.

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It was Hui who had to decide to amputate part of her husband’s leg.

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“There was no other choice,” she said.

“It was really either his life or his leg. And I will make this decision a million times. But it was a difficult 24 to 48 hours for me and for us. Especially for him. Never in a million years would I have thought or imagined saying sentences like, “Do everything you can to keep him alive.” »

For now, the family is focused on the future, their new normal, and looking forward to coming home.

“We chose life,” Hui said.

“And we have this second chance at life. And even if you are missing a limb, life is still precious and we have two beautiful children and can’t wait to travel again.

“We’re looking forward to, you know, doing all the things normal people do. And yes, get that prosthetic leg and we’ll be back.

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