A man who became a triple amputee when a cold developed into a flesh-eating bug has undergone an emergency amputation of his only remaining limb.
Alex Lee, from Stockbridge, had been due to attend a massive fund-raising festival for him tomorrow (Saturday).
However, as testament to his positive attitude, he referred to the loss of his remaining arm as a “minor setback”.
Alex lost three limbs, part of his nose and his lips when the normally harmless bacterial infection, Group A Streptococcu, rapidly developed into multiple organ failure, septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome.
Remarkably, Alex beat the odds to survive and underwent pioneering surgery to save his right arm.
Medics performed a 16-hour operation in which they stripped his arm back to its skeleton and pieced it back together using muscle and nerves taken from his back.
That battle seemed to have paid off.
Alex, who felt lucky he had one remaining “tool” for doing the things most of us take for granted, like sending a short email on his iPad using the underside of his little finger, explained the nerves were re-growing impressively and soon he’d even be able to feel his thumb twitch.
But last Friday, the day after he appeared on TV show, This Morning, with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield to tell his story, Alex broke his arm in three places.
Hospital scans revealed that the Strep A had caused an infection which had weakened the bones beyond repair.
He now faces six weeks in Salisbury District Hospital, where doctors will also perform surgery to reconstruct his lips.
This is the latest blow for the 34-year-old dad, his partner, Lucy Townsend and their three-year-old son, Sam.
Speaking this week before the operation, Lucy, who runs Michelin pub of the year, The Greyhound, on the Test in Stockbridge, said: “He is still wonderful and full of spirits. He’s a little scared in case they find something else, but he hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
“We hope they will amputate below the elbow, but they won’t know until they operate and see how badly damaged the arm is.”
Saturday’s fund-raiser at Stockbridge Recreation Ground will still go ahead.
Organised by Stockbridge Football Club, it will feature 42 stalls with traditional activities, as well as home-made goods to buy, a bouncy castle and a host of activities, including an aircraft display and football tournament until 5pm.
From 5pm, the music amps will be turned up as bands of all genres will take to the stage ahead of a stunning fireworks display.
Sheriden Sleap, who is among the volunteers organising the event, said: “I’ve never known the village come together quite so much as this. It’s going to be a really family-friendly day.”
Money raised will help Stockbridge Football Club, as well as the Al Lewis Trust, set up after the 34-year-old dad contracted Group A streptococcus last November. So far, more than £35,000 has been raised in just a few months after celebrities, members of the community and total strangers have rallied around to help the costs of his rehabilitation.
Alex said: “Stockbridge as a community has been so supportive and I really can’t put into words how it makes me feel. It will be an amazing day.”