A ten-year-old boy who lost both arms and legs to illness has thanked a group of kind-hearted volunteers who turned his bungalow into a “dream home.”
Luke Mortimer said he was thrilled with the adaptations undertaken by charity Band of Builders, comparing the stunning makeover to something “you only see on TV.”
The grateful lad was just seven years old when he lost his arms and legs after getting severe bacterial infections, meningococcal meningitis, and septicemia.
He later moved to the ground-floor home, in Embsay, UK, which his dad Adam Mortimer had begun to adapt before reaching out to Band of Builders for help.
The 12-strong team, who worked for free, finished most of the work on the property – including a new kitchen, heating system, shower room, and wooden flooring – in June.
After they completed the final touches, they gave delighted Luke the first tour of his new home on Sunday, September 3.
“I would like to thank the Band of Builders team for making my life so much easier around my home,” Luke said.
“I can remember that when they first came the house looked like a wreck, but then within a few weeks, it looked like a dream home that you only see on TV and I still can’t thank them enough.”
The refurbished house now has easy-to-use fittings in the shower room and a smooth floor in the kitchen, where Luke spends a lot of time with his brother, Harry.
The young lad’s carpeted bedroom has also been fitted with cupboards, and he even has places on his wall for his framed rugby shirts, signed by his favorite players.
Dad Adam, 49, a builder by trade, said he was overwhelmed with the work of the charity, which regularly helps out the families of those with life-changing injuries.
“We are massively grateful to Band Of Builders for coming into our house and helping to make the house accessible for Luke,” he said.
“The work would have taken me years to complete, but the Band Of Builders got us to a decorated finish in 8 weeks.
“There isn’t enough praise, and thank-yous that we can give to Band Of Builders! What an amazing charity and a bunch of people.”
Luke, previously a keen rugby player for Skipton RFC in North Yorkshire, was first struck down with meningococcal meningitis on December 13, 2019.
He was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where doctors found life-threatening septicemia, also known as blood poisoning, had developed in his body.
Although he survived the deadly illness, he lost all his limbs and needed 23 painful surgeries over a ten-week period to replace missing skin and address his wounds.
Writing at the time of the incident, John Firth, a family friend who set up a donation page for him, said his rugby-mad family’s life had been “turned upside down” following his illness.
He said: “Luke was a budding 7-year-old rugby player, a bundle of joy who even at a young age had embraced life and every day was a happy day.
“His whole family was part of the rugby community, with his dad coaching many age-grade youngsters and his mum, running a children’s rugby kit recycling stall, so that the young boys and girls, always had the right gear to play and train in.
“However, whilst the rest of us were buying and wrapping presents ready for Christmas, the family’s life was turned upside down.
“On the 13th Dec 2019, Luke fell ill with Meningococcal Meningitis.”
“Luke’s young life was saved, however, the disease has taken its toll on his little body.
“He has proven he is a fighter, however, his life and the life of his mum, dad, and his big brother will never be the same.”
Over the next few years, Luke endured endless sessions of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, while always wearing his trademark beaming smile.
He later learned to walk – and run – on prosthetic legs.
After receiving £15,000 ($18,800) of donations from an army of well-wishers, he also received his first robotic ‘hero’ arms, so he could do more for himself.
The Bungalow where Luke now lives was previously adapted for a man who was paralyzed from the waist down.
Luke’s Dad had begun to adapt the property for him before he asked Band of Builders if they could offer him some much-needed support.
The charity’s operations director Tony Steel thanked the volunteers who gave their time free of charge for the project, along with locals who’d supplied food and drinks.
“The look on Luke’s face made it all worthwhile,” he said.
“Luke is an inspiration to us all, and it has been our pleasure to help his dad complete the renovations to the home – and therefore make the quality of Luke’s home life just that bit better.”
Band of Builders was founded in 2016 when the tradesmen got together to renovate the home of a man who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The incredible response from builders across the UK saw the project completed and demonstrated what can be achieved when the industry stands together.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Priscilla Jepchumba and Newsdesk Manager