The family of Pete Hart have secured funding from the local authority to build an extension and remodel the downstairs of their home to create a bedroom and bathroom for him – as he has been left with a profound physical disability after suffering hypoxic brain damage brought on by a heart attack.
The funding is for the internal works, but the family are also in desperate need of outside work to be completed, including a level, bigger, wheelchair-friendly driveway and more parking for his carers.
Gordon Hart, who is known by all as Pete, has been a bricklayer since the age of 18 and is a larger-than-life character with a do-anything-for-anyone outlook on life.
A month into the first lockdown in April 2020, the 55-year-old suffered a massive heart attack at home. His partner of 32 years, Sam, a registered nurse, heard the thud as Pete hit the floor of the upstairs bedroom and immediately began CPR until the paramedics arrived and continued to work on him for more than two hours before he was stable enough to be moved.
The father of two girls was on a ventilator in intensive care for nearly three months – during which time Sam and the girls could only see him a handful of times due to the Covid restrictions. And, there were three occasions where the medical team discussed turning off his ventilator if he showed no signs of meaningful recovery.
After four months, Pete showed signs of cognitive recovery and was moved to a neurological rehabilitation hospital, where he stayed for a further five months. Sam had an almighty battle to be able to get Pete home because he has complex needs.
He needs round-the-clock care and carers four times a day, as he is wheelchair bound because he cannot use his arms, hands and legs. He also suffers from epilepsy, diabetes and cortical blindness.
Sam has given up a 30-year career in the NHS to care for Pete and is overseeing his rehabilitation. Pete has permission to attend the wheelchair gym at Chailey Heritage Foundation, which is one of the UK’s leading centres for children and young people with complex disabilities.
She has had to jump through hoops to get the agreement for the local authority to fund the extension, and it was by chance that she saw the story of another Band of Builders beneficiary, Rob Lamb, so she got in touch to see if there was any help available.
The family use the downstairs living room area as a makeshift bedroom for Pete. Once the local authority-funded extension and remodelling have been completed, Band of Builders will step in to tackle access to the property from the front.
The extension is expected to be completed in September – after which our team, headed up by Project Lead Tony Everett, will carry out work on the front driveway, which is in desperate need of repair, extending and making suitable for wheelchair use.
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