A woman from Harpenden who had her leg amputated is determined to "achieve great things", after organising a fun run to raise money for a running blade.

Francesca Berry was diagnosed with Desmoid Fibromatosis in her left foot in 2020, a tumour that affects only five to six people in a million.

The 28-year-old began chemotherapy without much success, and due to the pain she opted for surgery to have the tumour removed, but it grew back more aggressively, wrapping around her bones and tendons.

Francesca decided to undergo a below-knee amputation on November 16, 2023, returning home just three days later and moving around on crutches after just 24 hours.

Herts Advertiser: Francesca with her brother Christopher and sister Isabella.Francesca with her brother Christopher and sister Isabella. (Image: Jacqueline Hayler)

Around 40 people gathered at Rothampsted Park in Harpenden last Saturday, running either 5k or 10k in a bid to raise money for a specially adapted wheelchair and a running blade.

A keen sportswoman before her amputation, Francesca is keen to "achieve great things" and dreams of running again.

"I’m an extremely determined individual and I want to live the best life that I can as an amputee," she said. 

"I want to achieve great things which is why these funds will help so much. I dream of being able to run again and walk properly with no pain.

Herts Advertiser: Around 40 people gathered at Rothampstead Park in Harpenden to take part in the fun run.Around 40 people gathered at Rothampstead Park in Harpenden to take part in the fun run. (Image: Jacqueline Hayler)

"Prior to my amputation, I was a very keen tennis player and having found a real passion for the sport, I’ve now taken up wheelchair tennis.

"I really wasn’t keen at first, but my mum encouraged me to give it a go and now I absolutely love it.

"I’m hoping to start competing in March and have big goals for the future and these funds will help massively towards a competitive wheelchair."

Running blades are not available on the NHS and cost £10,000, with Francesca already halfway to her £20,000 fundraising target.

Herts Advertiser: Francesca is hoping to raise £20,000.Francesca is hoping to raise £20,000. (Image: Jacqueline Hayler)

As well as the fun run, a fundraising quiz night has been planned, while Francesca and her mum Carolyn are set to take part in the Henley Club to Pub open water swim in the River Thames on July 27.

"I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated, shared my page or posted words of encouragement - I’ve been blown away by the support and it genuinely means the world to me," Francesca added. 

"Without the support of friends and family I really don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the last four years."

To donate to Francesca, visit www.gofundme.com/f/findingmyfeetagain.