A rare-TV reality TV star paid £ 64,000 for the amputation of his leg – 18 years after his other limb was also removed.
20-year-old James Bertrand, who appeared on Channel 4's First Dates, was in constant pain due to blood clots caused by a twin-to-twin transfusion disorder.
After exhausting all medical options in the UK, he traveled to Australia, where a surgeon had finally agreed to the surgery.
Oddly enough, Mr. Bertrand was encouraged to perform an osseointegration operation, with the bone eroded and a prosthetic implanted, through an episode of Supervet in which a dog had the same procedure.
Reality TV: James Bertrand (right) on Channel 4's popular romance show First Dates
Beyond the surgery: Mr. Bertrand, shown in the gym in September 2018 after his surgery
"If I had not seen the show, I would never have thought about it," says Mr. Bertrand from Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire.
"I did not think much about it [the episode] at the start. It was actually my mother who asked the question and that was when it became possible.
"We asked our doctors in Dorset about it and they said people are already working on it, it's funny how it really happened."
Born prematurely after 28 weeks with his twin brother Tom, he had blood clots in both legs, so his left leg had to be amputated at the age of 18 months.
His remaining right leg was also badly damaged, with no main artery, which meant that the foot could not move, he had no muscles in that leg and was in constant pain.
"My right leg was getting worse as I grew up, and I could not walk on hard surfaces without shoes. My leg was just so sensitive. It caused me more problems that I left. I went to a counselor and he told me that my right leg had to go.
Brother Beyond: James Bertrand (right) photographed with twin brother Tom in July 2018
Boy Power: The siblings were prematurely born due to their rare blood disorder at the age of 28 weeks
"He basically said" it's a stick "and did not work, I'm crying, I could not imagine not having legs.
"Deep inside, I knew it was the right thing to do, but I had a hard time coming to terms with it," he added. It caused me pain, but it was still my leg. I started to think about things I could not do anymore.
"I can never feel the ground when I get up again."
Determined to be pain free, he raised £ 60,000 to finance the operation, which took place in May.
Now he is almost painless and has "changed" the way he walks.
Loyal: James and Tom took pictures in May 2018 when he completed a 5km run before the operation
Determined: He wanted to be pain free and raised £ 60,000 to fund the Australian-based operation
He took his first steps without crutches in August and has grown five centimeters due to the new, longer extremity.
His new leg enabled James to get up in the shower for the first time, increasing his mobility and giving him a new lease on life.
"I can never tuck my toe or stand on a wall outlet, which is great. But I can do everything I want.
"It's still early, but it will change my life," he says.
"At first I regretted it, because the recovery was so difficult. It was mentally exhausting.
"I hope to travel to Thailand, Indonesia and Bali soon. I am a positive person and just had to stay strong. "
Stay positive: "I hope to travel to Thailand, Indonesia and Bali soon. I'm a positive person and just had to stay strong, "says Bertrand
Inspired: James (right) hopes to inspire others to be brave by talking about his life
Family Issue: The brothers are pictured with their father Graham (left), sister Kitty (second from left), Sophie (fourth from left), and mother Carolyn (right), who traveled with him downstairs
WHAT IS TWIN TWIN TRANSFUSION SYNDROME?
Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can occur with identical pregnancies when twins share a placenta.
Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and prevent the blood from flowing evenly between the babies.
A twin is then dehydrated, which affects its growth.
The other develops high blood pressure and produces too much urine.
This results in an enlarged bladder and excessive amniotic fluid, which can stress the heart of the twin and cause heart failure.
Without treatment, TTTS can be fatal to both twins.
In the United Kingdom, about 300 twins die each year from the disease, and in the US 6,000 babies are affected each year.
Draining excess amniotic fluid can improve blood flow.
If this is not enough, laser surgery is used to occlude and permanently separate abnormal blood vessels.
The surgeon then drains excess fluid.
Even if treated successfully, most TTTS babies are born too soon.
The majority, however, have a long, healthy life.
Source: Cincinnati Children's Hospital