Meet George, our Sydney Metro Group Leader

"The path in which your life heads is in your own hands! I’m George, a right below knee amputee and this is my story.”

“I should have been a left below knee amputee 41 years ago at the age of 13 after a collision with a sliding glass door. I was extremely lucky that surgeons were able to save and repair my leg."

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George, the second eldest of four children born to Greek immigrant parents, is a 54-year-old divorced father of Alicia 14, and Damon 10. George lives in Tempe, a suburb in Sydney’s inner west. Growing up for George wasn’t all strawberries and cream. After completing a school certificate at Tempe High School he went on to do an apprenticeship in his father’s cabinet making business, a business that George went on to run for a little while after his father’s passing in 1996. The business closed three years later, and George worked as a contractor to several builders using the skills and qualifications he gained under the tutelage of his late father.

Fast forward fifteen years, and at the age of forty, George became a father himself to Alicia, and three years later he was also blessed with the arrival of Damon. On Christmas Eve 2018, during a marriage breakdown, serious health issues arose leading to an infected ulcer in his right foot which resulted in the loss of two toes. On July 16 2021, the same day as Damon’s birthday, infection took hold again which resulted in a complete forefoot amputation. Shortly after healing from this amputation, a new pressure ulcer developed which did not heal for 18 months and resulted in many visits to the high-risk foot clinic and multiple conversations with podiatrists and doctors. Finally, George faced a life or limb decision, and decided to have his leg amputated below the knee. “I had my amputation on February 23, 2023. Even though there are many before me who have had amputations, whether elective, due to infection or trauma, I can say with hand on heart it is the best decision I have ever made,” he shared. “Amputation has given me a new lease on life.”

George acknowledges that the company he works for have been very supportive and gave him time away from work to go and have his surgery. He has been back at work in an office environment within the cabinet making industry since June 2023. George also has a number of passions including golf, water and motor sports, rugby league and many other outdoor activities such as camping, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding. “And with god's graces I've been able to participate in many of these activities since losing my leg.” Since joining Amputee Golf NSW, he has had the opportunity to play golf alongside many talented amputee golfers. 

The decision to become an amputee was made easier with conversations that George had with the amputee team at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) along with Limbs 4 Life peer support conversations with trained amputee peer support volunteers. It is because of the great work that Limbs 4 Life does with the amputee community and the resources that are available to people facing amputation, that George decided to become a Peer Support Volunteer and an Amputee Support Group Leader. George was invited and pleased to join the Nepean Amputee Support group gatherings to meet other amputees and gain new knowledge on amputee life, something that George says is invaluable. It became clearer to George, that while the Nepean Amputee Support group in Penrith is terrific, that it can be difficult for amputees who live closer to Metro Sydney city to attend. This is reason that George wanted to establish a support group closer to Sydney’s CBD. “Everything I do amputee-related is simply because I want to pass on the knowledge and empowerment I received,” reflected George. “I want to help anyone considering the thought of amputation less burdensome and easier." 

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"Many people ask me if I was ‘sure’ about going through with my amputation and how I would cope post-surgery. For a little while I had doubts of my own but I can now say that I’m glad I did. I am often told (when I am wearing long pants) that people who don’t know me, wouldn’t even know that I’m an amputee. You just couldn’t tell. I’m now also in a fantastic relationship and am unstoppable in any challenge I set myself. It is without a doubt that the team at Limbs 4 Life, the RPA Amputee Clinic / Allied healthcare staff and other clinicians have made my life as an amputee an enlightening and incredible journey for which I am forever grateful. Don’t let anyone tell you that 'you can’t' because you have a limb missing. I tell them that it’s because of my limb deficiency I’ll show you, that I can do it better!"

George and the Sydney Metro Amputee Support Group meet for lunch and social get-togethers throughout the year. You can find out about Limbs 4 Life’s support groups and social events here