I’m Sorry but You Have Gangrene, Both Your Legs Need to Be Amputated From the Knee Down.

How a Disease Gave Me Purpose …

Photo by Josh Hold from Pexels

How a disease gave me purpose are people’s stories of how a disease, illness or accident totally altered their lives, how their WorkLife paths were completely taken off track, how they navigated their long road to recovery, and how ultimately they came through the other side with a strong sense of purpose.

I’m sorry but you have gangrene, both your legs need to be amputated from the knee down

Jason listened to these words in complete disbelief and horror.

But let’s back up a little to Jason’s Story: How A Disease Gave Me Purpose: Case Study

Jason worked in events, a job which he really loved; and he was also a drummer in a band, which fulfilled his passion for music. He was married with two young daughters and life was pretty good. That was until Jason caught what he thought was the flu. He had a lot of aches and pains, and was feeling really rundown.

Then one day he collapsed at work and was taken to hospital. Examinations were made and blood tests were taken, the results of which led to those distressing words from Jason’s Doctor: “I’m sorry but you have gangrene, both your legs need to be amputated from the knee down.”

Jason listened to these words in complete disbelief and horror. As you can appreciate the road to recovery was long and hard from both a physical and emotional perspective for Jason.

Jason’s illness had a devastating effect on his life. It meant he could no longer work in his chosen field of events. This was because he could no longer cope with the physical element of setting up events, which was a major part of his role and what he enjoyed. He also had to give up his drumming because he needed a sense of rhythm in his foot tapping to ‘feel the music’, and he no longer had that.

Jason had to have robotic limb replacements. He then spent months in rehabilitation learning to walk again. While in rehab he became friendly with Zeb, who shared with him the following:


Zeb was a military veteran. He had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his last tour, he had come under attack while driving, causing his car to go out of control. He was pulled from the burning inferno, but sadly suffered severe burns to his face and body.

On sharing his story with Jason, Zeb told him how what had happened had over time given him his purpose in his WorkLife. He said how it felt like all the stars had aligned the day he had the realisation that he could use everything he’d been through in his life to build something that would help other people realise that a disease, illness or accident, while life-changing, is not life-ending. He did this by sharing his story, then asking people who had also experienced life-changing events through a disease, illness or accident to tell their stories at the WorkLife Changing Events he ran.

Zeb went on to say, that looking back he couldn’t imagine where he’d be now, if he hadn’t gone through everything he did, saying that all of the challenges he’d been through had helped to determine his purpose, which led him to the WorkLife he’s living today. He said he’s passionate about what he does, and that he discovered he has an ability to make a positive impact to the lives of the people he connects with.


Zeb gave Jason the book: Life is Good by Bert and John Jacobs. Through simple life lessons, the brothers illuminate ten key “superpowers” accessible to everyone: openness, courage, simplicity, humour, gratitude, fun, compassion, creativity, authenticity and love. Their story shows how to overcome obstacles and embrace opportunity. Jason found the book moving, entertaining and profound. It became his guide for embracing and growing the good in his life.

As Jason recovered, his determination to become agile and to build a good level of health and fitness pushed him to walk more and more. He had a love of the outdoors, and as soon as he could he ventured to his nearby park, and slowly he built up his walking ability. With that came a renewed zest for life. He spent as much time as he could with his wife and daughters in the wonderful parks of London, many of which were on his doorstep. He had plenty of time on his hands, and was determined to make the most of it, and indeed make up for the time he had lost during his illness.

He was considering his next career, and although uncertain initially what this would actually be, he began to think of it in terms of what he loved doing and what was important to him. He did a lot of his thinking when he was in the park, spending time with his wife, playing with his girls or just walking in nature maintaining his health and fitness routine. He got to know the people working in the park and talked to them about their careers. These conversations led him to become a volunteer with responsibility for maintaining the upkeep of the park. Although he had no specific experience in doing this, he quickly grew to love what he was doing, and became more and more interested in the horticultural side of things.

One of the park horticulturalists noticed Jason’s natural ability in the work he was doing and spoke to him about the internship programme they ran each year, suggesting he apply for it. This is exactly was Jason did, and he was successful in securing a place on the programme. He is now developing his new career in horticulture.

Words Of Wisdom

“Life is not easy. Life is not perfect. Life is good.” Bert and John Jacobs


Jason now tells his story at Zeb’s WorkLife Changing Events. To help shape his talk he asked himself: “What legacy or reputation do I want to leave behind? Through self-feedback that came from the answer he developed what he calls his WorkLife Slogan:

Happiness is a walk in the park.

“For me this sums up everything that’s important to me, my love of walking in nature, playing with my girls, walking hand in hand with my wife, walking alone with my thoughts, all the time maintaining my fitness and well-being. Recognising the positive impact of simply being in the park, being at one with nature has for me and my family and wanting to play a part in contributing to creating that impact for other people too. While also playing my part in helping the environment through my work. This is my way of giving back or giving forward, this is the legacy I want to leave behind, this is what I want to be remembered for. “

Jason’s turning point story: Overcoming a Significant Challenge has been adapted from chapter 13 of my book: Your WorkLife Your Way.

Today’s featured book is: Life is Good by Bert and John Jacobs

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.

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