Less than three years after being seriously injured in a motorcycle crash and one year from having his lower left leg amputated, Louis-Franck Valade, 42, ran his hometown 10K in Carleton-sur-Mer, Que. on June 5. When he first started walking again after the accident, he knew he wanted to run.
“On July 13, 2013, I was hit by a car as I was riding home on my motorcycle,” explains Valade. “An older man driving in the opposite direction didn’t notice me as he turned left to enter an alley and hit me on the side.”
Valade’s left leg was crushed between the car and the motorcycle. He was transported to the hospital and says that he could still feel his toes despite much of his leg being seriously injured.
“The orthopedist decided he would try to save my leg,” says Valade. “I thought it was I wanted, that it would be best to have my own leg versus having none but for the following year-and-a-half I was sick all the time. It’s like my foot made me sick, like it was always infected.”
The 42-year-old father was unable to wear normal shoes or boots because of the swelling in his lower leg, couldn’t play outside with his kids and couldn’t walk for extended periods of time. He was back in the emergency room on Dec. 31, 2014 with a fever and intense pain when he made the decision to have his leg amputated.
“It was the only way to get my life back,” says Valade on hwy he made the decision. On Feb. 2, 2015, his left lower leg was amputated just below the knee.
“As soon as I got my prosthesis, which was meant for walking, I tried to run a little,” says Valade. “I missed that feeling so much. That was in the spring of 2015.”
For the next year, Valade continued to run but focused more on relearning normal life and rebuilding his energy to the point where he was healthy again. This April, he received his running prosthesis and has run regularly ever since. On June 5, he completed the 10K at the fourth annual Marathon Baie-des-Chaleurs in his hometown in 1:01:05 and was greeted by family and friends at the finish line.
Valade owns a microbrewery, Le Naufrageur, and a bakery in Carleton-sur-Mer, a town of approximately 4,000 people located in southeastern Quebec. Turning 43 this summer, Valade will to continue his running on the streets and trails of the small Quebec town.