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Brave boy’s charity challenge to thank hospital for saving his life

Posted onPosted on 4th Mar

A proud Huthwaite mum has praised the bravery of her young son, who has conquered the loss of both his legs and raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Gemma Reckless said they had been blown away by seven-year-old William’s courage to complete his fundraising challenge.

William, who had both his legs and nine fingers amputated four years ago, walked two miles on prosthetic legs, and cycled a further two miles on his hand cycle.

He has raised more than £6,000 for Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s The Big Appeal, which wants to fund improvements to facilities such as play areas and family rooms at Nottingham Children’s Hospital and its new Neonatal Unit.

Gemma said: “I thought William was struggling half way through the walk but he dug deep and flew round the second half.

“Thank you all so much. An amazing amount of money raised for an amazing cause — plus an incredible confidence boost for a little boy who doesn’t yet realise he can achieve anything he sets his mind to. Thank you!”

William was struck down with sepsis in January 2020, aged three.

After attending King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton, William was put into an induced coma and transferred to Nottingham Children’s Hospital, at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC), for specialist care.

Gemma said: “On arrival at QMC, William suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. At that point we were told to prepare for the worst — he was not expected to survive.

“Thankfully, William pulled through. But it was a long and tough journey. His kidneys were failing, meaning he required intensive haemodialysis, his lung had collapsed and he required multiple chest drains, and he suffered brain injury.”

The sepsis had caused irreversible damage, which meant William had to have his legs and fingers amputated.

Four years on from his ordeal, William decided to mark the fourth anniversary of his amputations by taking on the challenge at Kingsway Park, Kirkby, surrounded by friends and family.

Gemma added: “It was the furthest William has ever walked, but he was spurred on by little sister Georgia (above), who has been his biggest motivator and helper since day one.”

The Reckless family said they would be forever grateful for the care they received at Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

“Although we were living every parent’s worst nightmare, everyone at the hospital was incredible,” Gemma said.

“They not only looked after William, but supported our entire family.

“Whilst William was in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit we were given a room a short walk away, which was funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, so that we could grab a few hours’ sleep and a shower, but know we could be back at his bedside within minutes if the situation were to change.

“This meant everything to us, I couldn’t bear to be apart from him at that time.

“In fact, I left home with William in the January, leaving my husband, Mike, with Georgia (who was one), expecting to be home in a few hours with some antibiotics.

However, I didn’t return home until over two months later when William was discharged.

“Since that time, we have always said we wanted to do something to give back to Nottingham Hospitals Charity. They do such amazing work and it was because of them we were able to stay at the hospital, in a bedroom just down the corridor, in those early days and weeks, when the thought of leaving him was unbearable.”

Charity Stow, community fundraiser at the charity, said: “We are so grateful to William for taking on this fantastic challenge in aid of the Big Appeal for Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

“We know this was a big challenge for William, but were rooting for him every step of the way. He’s already overcome so much.

“The money William raised will make such a difference to other children like him, and parents like Gemma and Mike, by enabling us to fund more equipment and facilities for other patients and families.”

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