Chris found out by chance that he has an aggressive form of spinal multiple sclerosis (MS). He currently uses walking aids and a Motability scooter – but his condition will continue to deteriorate, requiring use of a wheelchair within the next two years.
The father of seven – who was a skilled general builder – is the family cook but his previous kitchen made it difficult to carry out routine tasks. A complete remodelling of his kitchen means that he can cook meals for his family again.
Chris is a City & Guilds qualified bricklayer and general builder who was nearing the 15-year mark in the trade when a chance conversation eight years ago with a customer – who happened to be a nurse – led him to seek medical advice for a tingling sensation in his belly button.
He said the situation “went downhill very quickly”, with pins and needles and numbness from the chest down. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of spinal MS, which has had a huge impact on his movement – and he had to give up lots of things he loves, such as coaching a local football team and playing with his children, the youngest of whom is six years old.
Despite being part of a drugs trial of Lemtrada – an intravenous infusion used to treat relapsing forms of MS – Chris will need to use a wheelchair within the next two years.
In addition to this, Chris was also diagnosed with epilepsy 18 months ago after experiencing a series of seizures and fits – and his body can no longer regulate heat or cold.
Chris is the family cook, and his signature dish is a Sunday roast with all the trimmings. Unfortunately, he struggles to get around the kitchen and has had numerous falls trying to open his low-level oven.
He was put in touch with Band of Builders by a fellow Torpoint (Cornwall) resident and parent on the same school run, Audra – who suffers from a number of conditions (including hypermobility) and was also a beneficiary, having a new wet room installed.
The project saw the remodelling of Chris’s kitchen to make it accessible and user friendly for a wheelchair user.
A new bespoke kitchen was donated by AKW Medi-Care Limited, and the project involved the installation of this kitchen, with features including a rise-and-fall worktop that houses a hob and sink. It also features pull down baskets and a pull-out larder which makes it easier for Chris to use his storage and cupboards.
The week-long project started at the very end of July, and volunteer chippies, plasterers, sparks, floorlayers, tilers and plumbers all got involved in the project.