A young man with a rare form of rickets who underwent six operations to straighten his legs is now helping Sheffield Children’s Hospital after becoming a governor.
Luke Jenkinson, aged 22, from Handsworth, was left with bowed legs after being born with the condition.
Both he and his mum Janet, 57 - who also had X-linked hypophosphataemic rickets - were treated at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital for their condition.
Luke said he wanted to ‘give something back’ by joining the hospital’s 32-strong council of governors, which advises the board of directors and keeps them in touch with public opinion.
“I’ve got 50 scars from the operations on my legs – it’s certainly a talking point,” he said.
“I always get the children’s hospital newsletter and I saw the governor position and thought ‘why not’. It was a way to keep involved with the hospital because I didn’t really want to leave.”
Luke, the public governor for South East Sheffield, is now a student physiotherapist and trampoline enthusiast, a hobby which once would have been difficult for him to enjoy.
“When my mum was born she had rickets, and they told her it was due to a mutated gene that could be inherited.
“When she had my brother he didn’t have it, but when I was born I did have it.
“A few years ago I had operations to straighten my legs and since then I’ve been fine without any pain. My mum had it as an adult too successfully, so I was used to the idea.”
He added: “I’m a passionate supporter and advocate of the NHS and for extending improvements achieved in recent years.
“I care about making health services better and want to improve the experiences of service users, the public and staff.
“I really hope I can become a physio at the children’s hospital too – I’ll feel like I’ve come full circle.”
The governors represent patients, the public, staff and partner organisations, making sure the needs of city residents are met and that full consultations are made on any changes. They are elected by foundation trust members.
Visit www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk for more information.