Little Louie Jenkins will learn to walk on an early birthday present - a new pair of legs.
Surgeons amputated below the knee after he became critically ill with meningitis aged just four months. Now he's having a prosthetic pair made in time for his first birthday in August, so he can take his first steps.
His mum Julie says: "Louie was too young to be walking when he became ill so it won't seem strange to him to have to walk using artificial limbs. We have just been told that as with other babies learning to walk we will need to help hold him up and support him while he gets used to them."
The brave 10-month-old boy, from Lancashire, had both his legs amputated from below the knee after he became critically ill with meningitis in January. He spent nine and a half weeks in Leeds General Infirmary and parents Julie, 29, and Warren, 31, feared he wouldn't survive.
Louie also had all his fingers on his left hand and the finger tips on his right hand amputated. Casts for his new legs were made at a specialist prosthetics unit at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds.
"I think it will just be a case of seeing how he gets on and working with a physiotherapist to try and help him," says Julie.
The doctors at Seacroft Hospital have taken casts of his legs which they are using to make the legs. We all went to the hospital to the appointment. We made a little family trip out of it. It was nice for his sister Francesca to see what was happening and to be able to ask questions about it.
"I think he quite enjoyed having the casts made, it was therapeutic for him. We have been told that we should have the legs on June 20. We will need to return to the hospital every time he starts to grow out of the legs to have new ones cast - we have been told to expect him to need new legs for every time he goes up a clothing size."
Last month his family set up the Little LAMB (Louie's Amazing Meningitis Battle) Appeal to help buy equipment needed to support him. As he gets older the money raised will also be used to buy state-of-the-art prosthetic legs at a cost of around £7,000 per leg.
"As Louie is growing it doesn't really make sense to be spending that amount of money on legs that he will keep growing out of so he will just have the NHS ones for now," explains Julie.
"As he gets older he may want to take part in sport and we want to be able to say that we have the money to be able to buy him the legs that he wants."
Doctors say Julie's quick-thinking back in January when Louie developed meningitis saved her son's life, as she spotted the first warning signs of the deadly condition so early.
"I had bathed Louie with his sister Francesca as normal but throughout the night he kept waking up crying and was sick. I noticed he had a temperature so stripped him down and gave him some Calpol," explains Julie.
"It was when I stripped him down that I noticed two small red pin prick marks. I pressed on them and they didn't go away so thought something was wrong. Within a matter of minutes he had gone grey and floppy so I rung for an ambulance. As I was watching he went from having a few marks to all his legs and arms turning purple.
"They took him to Airedale and treated him for meningitis, it was all a bit of a shock and it didn't really hit home until we had the results of the blood test which confirmed that he had meningococcal septicaemia"
Louis was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where he was kept in intensive care for two weeks then put onto the children's surgical ward.
Around £1,000 has been raised so far for Louie. For more information or to make a donation contact Julie on Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck Louie!
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