A ten-year-old quad amputee has given a heartfelt thank you to a team of volunteer tradespeople from Band of Builders (BoB) who have completed a project to make significant adaptations to his home in Embsay, North Yorkshire.
Luke Mortimer – who was just seven years old when he lost his arms and legs after he contracted meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia – said thank you to the 12-strong team who made the renovations, which have made his home life easier.
Luke – who along with dad Adam and four BoB volunteers recently appeared on ITV’s This Morning to tell hosts Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond all about the project – said: “I would like to thank the BoB team for making my life so much easier around my home.
“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 bulk of the work on the project took place at the end of June – with the final touches completed after a new kitchen was installed, ready for the handover at the start of September.
Dad Adam is a builder, and although he had started work on making adaptations himself, he reached out to BoB for help with changes including putting in a new shower room with easy-to-use fittings, installing underfloor heating, lowering the ceilings, insulating the house and fitting new wooden flooring, as Luke and his older brother Harry spend a lot of time on the floor.
The completion of this project is yet another milestone in Luke’s remarkable story, which started when he fell ill in December 2019 and was rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with type Y meningococcal meningitis – a rare but serious bacterial infection that causes the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed. Almost immediately, he was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, as septicaemia had set in.
After the removal of his limbs, Luke underwent many more surgeries to cover what had survived with a covering of skin; 50% of his body had no skin, so the remaining 50% had to be donor skin. To get him healed and to minimise infection, he went to theatre Monday, Wednesday and Friday to have painful skin grafts and dressing changes. In-between these surgeries, there was physio, psychological therapy, occupational therapy, and lots and lots of doctors and consultants prodding, poking and checking. Luke had 23 surgeries over a ten-week period.
He spent nearly five months in hospital before he was able to go home.
Since then, he has endured endless sessions of physiotherapy and rehabilitation with a trademark beaming smile. He has learned to walk – and run – on prosthetics. And, thanks to fundraising and donations from an army of well-wishers, he has received the first of his robotic ‘hero’ arms to allow him to do more for himself. The cost is approaching £15,000, and they have to be replaced every two years while Luke is still growing.
His family have been overwhelmed by the support and all the different fundraising activities that continue to take place for Luke.
We called on volunteer tradespeople from our community of members – which included plumbers, plasterers, bathroom fitters, heating specialists and decorators. We also drew on the backing of businesses to provide materials and support, such as headline sponsor CT1 and others, including Gibbs & Dandy, Palio flooring by Karndean, ServiceLoo, Lee Brothers, Myers Building Supplies, Fox Kitchens, Life Kitchens for Living, Silestone, Meridian, Direct Wood Flooring, EvoCore, Floor Design Studios, C Jennings Flooring and Flooring Superstore.
BoB Operations Director Tony Steel thanked all the volunteers who donated their time free of charge for the project and also the local community, which rallied round with donations of food and drinks to keep the volunteers fed and hydrated during the project.
“The smile on Luke’s face made it all worthwhile,” said Tony. “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.”