A young boy who was recently diagnosed with lifelong leukaemia has been able to return to school thanks to the help of a Tamworth charity.
Lewis Kedwards, aged 12 from Kitts Green, is struggling to walk due to terrible pains in his legs and couldn’t manage the 25-minute walk to school or the trips between lessons during the day.
After hearing about his plight, Tamworth charity, Help Us Help Others, offered to buy Lewis a proper wheelchair that he can use to get himself around.
Thanks to the donation of the MobiQuip all-terrain, lightweight, self-propelled G-Explorer wheelchair, Lewis has been able to start his phased return to school at Tudor Grange Academy in Kingshurst, Solihull, and is happy to be able to see his friends again.
His mum, Sam, said: “Because of the treatment Lewis is on, he’s been suffering a lot of pain in his legs and can’t walk very far. I asked on a free site if anyone had a wheelchair and we managed to get one so he could start returning to school.
“Unfortunately, the wheel fell off, so it didn’t last long. I don’t drive and it’s a 25-minute walk to school. Even if I could get him there, he needed a wheelchair for getting around during the day. Someone recommended Help Us Help Others and they delivered a brand-new wheelchair. It’s been a real godsend.
“Lewis can propel himself in this one, rather than having to rely on people pushing him, so it’s given him more independence as well. He was so happy; he went straight outside to test it. He’s finally been able to start easing himself back into school again. He’s doing half days at the moment and will hopefully be going back to full-time soon.
“He’s been so pleased to see his friends again. We’re really grateful to Help Us Help Others for their support, it’s made a huge difference to Lewis’s daily life.” Lewis was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in June this year when he was 11 years old. His mum took him to A&E when he started getting pains in his ankles and feet.
He’s a keen football player and had played a lot that week, so Sam assumed he might have suffered some sort of injury. But after 35 hours and lots of tests, the family were given the devastating news. While the leukaemia is in the ‘chronic’ stage, it can be managed with chemotherapy tablets which Lewis will now have to take for life.
“It was the last thing I was expecting,” mum-of-five Sam said. “It was a massive shock. It’s currently being controlled at the chronic stage with chemotherapy tablets and Lewis is responding well to the treatment but is suffering from lots of side effects, such as pain in his legs. We’re hoping that some of the effects will subside once his body gets used to the tablets, but it’s taking its time.
“We’ve all been tested in case Lewis needs a bone marrow transplant and his oldest sister is a full match, which is really good news. In the meantime, we’re just taking it one day at a time. I’ve not been able to work due to Lewis being at home, so the wheelchair donation has been a huge help.”
Supporting people who struggle to get help elsewhere Help Us Help Others was founded in 2016 by Tamworth businessman Darren Lake to support people who struggle to get help elsewhere. This includes people with disabilities, life-limiting illnesses, medical conditions,
equipment needs and those who are facing any sort of financial or social crisis.
The Help Us Help Others ethos is that 100 per cent of all funds raised go straight to the beneficiaries, and life-changing support worth thousands of pounds has been provided over the past six years. The coffers have been boosted by a recent charity challenge which saw
Darren, his son Jamie and fellow Tamworth businessman Kyle Raffo, raise £11,000 by climbing the Matterhorn – one of the highest summits in Europe – over the summer.
The money was raised thanks to generous donations from family, friends and clients of Pure Cloud Solutions, where Darren is a founder and Jamie is CEO.
Jamie, a Help Us Help Others trustee, said: “The Matterhorn was our biggest fundraising challenge to date and we’d like to thank everyone who helped us raise so much money.
“Lewis is one of the first to benefit from those donations. When we heard about the tough time he was having, we just knew we had to help him and his family. It’s great to hear the wheelchair is already making a big difference to Lewis’s life because that’s what this charity is all about.”
Help Us Help Others is always looking for more people to help in the area, and more trustees to join the team. The Matterhorn challenge fund will be open until the end of the year via a Just Giving page for anyone who would like to donate.