Brave toddler who lost both legs to meningitis takes first solo steps
Three years on, Taylor Lewsley is finally toddling around after being fitted with prosthetics in the theme of his favourite superhero, Spiderman
A brave three-year-old meningitis survivor has taken his first solo steps after having both his legs amputated — thanks to Spiderman prosthetics.
Little Taylor Lewsley fought for his life after he contracted a deadly form of meningitis — Meningococcal Septicaemia Type W — and a rash consumed his tiny body.
His mum Terri, 25, watched helplessly as his limbs and face turned black and doctors told her to say her final goodbyes. The little fighter pulled through after 17 days in a coma — but had to have both legs and all his fingers amputated.
But three years on, he is finally toddling around after being fitted with prosthetics in the theme of his favourite superhero, Spiderman.
Terri, a former clerk from Nottingham, said: "There's nothing worse than watching your child's limbs die before your eyes. It's scary how fast it can happen. If I had just put him to bed that night, I would have woken up the next morning to my son having died."
"It was hard because it was seeing his last limb go, but it was the best decision we have made because he can finally walk and have that independence. Seeing him walk for the first time was really emotional."
"He's absolutely amazing. He was so happy. I'm so proud of him. If he wants to do something he will find a way to do it, and since he started walking again he just hasn't looked back."
Little Taylor was born in August 2014 and was just eight months old when the infection struck in April 2015. He "wasn't himself" so after phoning 111 he was taken to hospital for fluids and then discharged home.
But he rapidly went downhill, wouldn't eat or drink and could barely keep his eyes open — and when he started to turn blue his mother called 999.
An ambulance took him to hospital where he was put in a medically-induced coma in intensive care. "They said they would do everything they could but that it was time for Taylor to do what he could to respond," Terri said.
"They said if he doesn't he only had a couple of hours to live. They said to get him christened and the family around to say goodbye. They didn't expect him to live — he shouldn't have lived — but he is a strong little boy and he fought it."
He was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia and a rash spread across his whole body and his cheeks. "I blinked and it was there and it got darker and darker," she said.
His left leg was amputated in early June 2015, and two weeks later surgeons removed all his fingers and toes on his right foot, after the tissue turned black and died. He came home after eight months in hospital, but had his remaining leg removed in September last year because it was "weak and floppy" and holding him back. "The septicemia had eaten away at the growth plates in the bone and it was the best decision to amputate," explained Terri.
He got Spiderman prosthetics and took his first unaided steps in over three years at nursery school in February this year. The teacher sent Terri a short video clip which she received in the supermarket and burst into tears.
"He loves it," she said. "There's still days when he won't want the prosthetics on, but that's just him being a three-year-old. The knuckles on his hand have become stumps he can use. It's the little things that we all take for granted that blow you away. The first time he held a crisp was a really big achievement."
The family are fundraising to have the back garden in their adapted bungalow made suitable for Taylor.
Author: Laura Elvin
© South West News Service