It would have been pretty devastating if one were to lose any part of their body. However, this 23-year-old man proved that losing his left foot is not to be the end of the world when he decided to create a funny yet inspiring photo series about his left foot before it was amputated!
Joe Pleban, who created this creative series of photo, had been suffering from a very rare bone/joint disease called Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis (PVNS), which arises in a form of large benign tumour at the knee joint. However, his condition did not stop him from doing extreme sports including snowboarding, wake boarding, and playing rugby. In fact, he only found out about his joint disease 6 years ago after a wake boarding incident.
He received his first radiation treatment at 21 years old but unfortunately, it didn’t lessen his pain. As the pain worsened day by day, Joe finally opted to have a below-the-knee amputation to get rid of the bone spurs and the pain. Joe’s sister explained that he had degenerative arthritis as well and that his ankle will have zero cartilage left after the amputation.
Before his leg was amputated, Joe stayed positive about his condition and even made a fool out of his left foot by taking pictures of how people could probably do the surgery themselves. He even went as far as getting a tattoo on his left foot with a cheeky description “Please Cut Here” and took pictures of it with his friends, family, and even his favourite bands!
During the Firefly Music Festival, he got his chance to take a picture with New Orleans-based band “Royal Teeth” as well as electro-pop duo “Cherub” after the bands heard about his story.
Two weeks ago, Joe finally has his leg amputated but of course, he didn’t have his sense of humour amputated as well. While taking post-amputation shots, he put on his beard and jokingly said to the nurses, “What took you so long? I’ve been waiting here forever!”
Titled, “The Last Adventures of Joe’s Left Foot”, the photo series became one of the most talked about topics on Reddit after it was uploaded by Joe’s sister (username lightlysaltedtarak). Due to the overwhelming response, he even opened a “Ask Me Anything” thread to talk about his story with other Reddit users who have been giving him support and encouragement.
Now that he is “right-footed”, the Reddit users who were moved by his story have started a fund-raising campaign and even contacted UNYQ to buy him a prosthetic cover. The company eventually started a Crowdtilt fund for him and will match whatever contributions made by Reddit users. They even decided to give him another prosthetic cover for free if the donation was enough to cover the cost of one prosthetic cover.
Joe’s positive outlook has inspired a lot of people who suffered from the same disease as well as some orthopaedic surgeons. He said his surgeon even showed a picture of his tattoo during a conference in London and that picture somehow became the hit thing at the conference.
Want to know more about this amazingly good sport? Check out his story on the AMA thread on Reddit as well as his Facebook page. Don’t forget to give him some words of encouragement too, while you’re at it!