Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Garden renovation for meningitis survivor Taylor

Andy Hopkinson | 4th February 2020

The grass is now greener at home for Taylor, thanks to our Rebuilding Futures Fund

Garden renovation for meningitis survivor Taylor

His mum Terri Lewsley, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, applied to the Rebuilding Futures Fund for artificial grass to make their garden safe for Taylor, now 5, to play in and fulfil his dream.

“We moved to a disabled bungalow and the house is perfect for Taylor’s needs,” said Terri. “But the garden was unsafe and not usable.

“We did a lot to make it better but we needed the grass to finish the job off.

Garden renovation for meningitis survivor Taylor

Loves being outside

“Taylor loves being outside and before we could use the garden I’d take him to the park, but stares and comments from others because of his prosthetics were getting him down.

“So having a garden he can escape to is his dream come true and I’m so glad I don’t have to say 'no' any longer when he asks to go outside – I used to hate that!

“The artificial grass is perfect for Taylor’s legs as they are so sensitive and can break down.

“It means Taylor can get back to doing what he enjoys best, which is being an outdoor boy.”

Life changed dramatically

Taylor was just eight months old when his life changed dramatically. He fell ill with meningococcal Group W meningitis and septicaemia in April 2016 and Terri, then just 22, watched helplessly as doctors gave her son just hours to live.

Luckily, Taylor is a fighter, but the impact of the disease was still life-changing. He spent 17 days in an induced coma before he gradually started to improve, but, he needed his fingers and thumbs amputated and both legs through the knee. Taylor's kidneys also failed and he was left on dialysis.

"Since Taylor underwent the operation he has gone from strength to strength,” Terri said. “I was so relieved he had survived and we all focused on his recovery rather than his lost limbs.

Smiling and giggling

“He was such a brave baby and couldn’t stop smiling – throughout his hospital stay he stunned doctors and nurses by continuing to smile and giggle.

“Taylor will need life-long care. The whole experience was horrifying but I have tried my best to stay positive. All I cared about was him surviving.

"We are determined not to allow meningitis to ruin Taylor's future. He was always such a happy, smiling baby before he was diagnosed and despite everything he’s been through, that hasn't changed. He's such an inspiring little boy and I'm so proud of him.”

Doing well now

Terri added, “Taylor is doing well now. He still has daily struggles but still smiles through it all, and the pain. He has undergone hand surgery over the last couple of years and now has five fingers made on his right hand which has made a massive difference to his life, just the simple things such as holding a pen and being able to write his name. It’s absolutely amazing. He’s now having the same done to his left hand. 

“He’s currently had 75 operations and still more to come. He took his first unaided steps on his full-length prosthetics last February and has done amazingly well on them. 

“He’s got to have more leg surgery as well, but he doesn’t let anything stop him. He’s such a fighter, and never gives up. He’s now started school and absolutely loves it.” 

Garden renovation for meningitis survivor Taylor

Makes such a difference

Meningitis Now Support Services Manager Cheryl Brown said, “We’re so glad that our Rebuilding Futures Fund has been able to help Terri and Taylor achieve their dream garden and we hope Taylor has hours and hours of fun playing in it.

“Meningitis can have a devastating impact on many aspects of life and affect people’s ability to enjoy some of the things most people take for granted.

“That’s where our Rebuilding Futures Fund can make such a difference by providing practical solutions that work for people, providing opportunity and reducing stress and anxiety.

Proud of life-changing support

“We’re proud to provide this unique, life-changing support – the only meningitis organisation to do so in the UK.”

Our Rebuilding Futures Fund provides financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis.

It comprises four separate area – Health and Wellbeing, Opportunities, Bereavement and Specialist Equipment. Each area provides funding towards different types of support, but they are all designed to help people rebuild their futures with hope and confidence.

If you, or someone you know would benefit from the Fund please get in touch by contacting our Helpline on 0808 80 10 388.

Other charity support activity includes our popular Family Days – regional fun days out for families affected by meningitis – and the Believe & Achieve programme especially for young people – read more about these here.

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