A hospital porter has made a heartbreaking sacrifice after being left partially paralysed by the operation that saved his life.
Dad-of-two Billy Hall was told he would likely have just months to live when he was diagnosed with a 13cm tumour in his pelvis in January this year.
The rare cancer does not respond to chemotherapy or radiotherapy, meaning surgery was the only option to save Billy’s life.
The 48-year-old, from Ellington, Northumberland, spent two days in an operating theatre at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary at the end of February.
And while the surgery saved his life, it has also changed it forever.
In order to remove the tumour, Billy has had to sacrifice some of his hip, many of his lower nerves and sciatic nerve - leaving him permanently paralysed on his right side.
He has now been in hospital for a month and faces a long road to regaining any sort of mobility.
Billy’s family are desperate to have him home - but need to make major adaptations to their house to accommodate his needs.
His wife Sarah has now launched an online fundraising campaign to help fund the works, and get Billy back where he belongs.
Billy started experiencing back pain last year, but was originally misdiagnosed with sciatica and bulging discs after a scan.
As a hospital porter for the Northumbria NHS trust, he worked constantly throughout the pandemic - and the pain increased as he continued to move and lift patients.
Sarah, 47, said: “He came in from a night shift one morning, went to put his uniform in the washing machine and couldn’t stand up because the pain was so intense.”
Billy went to A&E on January 6 and was sent to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital after doctors found a 13cm mass.
“He was absolutely heartbroken,” Sarah said.
“The surgeon told him it was a chondrosarcoma - it’s a rare type of cancer and we were told you can live with it for a long time before it presents its final symptom, which is extreme pain.
“The only option was surgery - it doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
“He had to have the tumour removed, but in order to remove the tumour they were going to have to change Billy’s life.
“He endured two whole days of surgery, survived a catastrophic bleed, had 30 litres of blood pumped back into him and spent five days on life support in ITU.”
As a result of the surgery, Billy has permanently lost all feeling in his right leg.
Sarah said: “At present he’s bedbound, hopefully in time he’ll be able to use a wheelchair, but we don’t know what the prognosis is going to be for the future.
“It’s all happened so quickly, there was no time to plan.”
The couple, who have two sons aged 15 and 12, are now fundraising for adaptations to their home before Billy is discharged - with the most urgent being a stairlift so he can get to the bathroom.
They will also need ramps for the front door, and the internal doors will need to be widened for wheelchair access.
Sarah said: “There is a disability funding grant but it takes a while to apply and hear back, and we need these things for him to come home, we can’t wait for a decision.”
In the meantime, the family continue to keep in touch on FaceTime as current restrictions prevent them from visiting the hospital.
“It’s really difficult, it’s really hard to go through something like that and not be able to have your loved ones there,” Sarah said.
“His life’s been saved, but at what cost? He’s lost what he knows to be his life.
“Everything has to change for him, things he took for granted like taking the children to school.
“He’s going to have to give up his job - he can’t be lifting or moving patients.
“We hope he’ll be able to stand to move from the bed to the chair but it will be very limited movement.
“It’s horrible to see him so helpless when he was such a fit, strong man.”
To donate go to https://uk.gofundme.com/f/help-get-billy-home