A four-year-old superhero fan who has a rare life-limiting bowel disease has been treated to the adventure of a lifetime – spending the whole day with his favourite heroes, flying a plane and helping the police catch a burglar.
Ellis Atkinson, who suffers from Hirschsprung’s disease, has had nine operations and over fifty hospital visits in his short life, so Hull charity Nice 2b Nice arranged for him to have a day to remember.
They decided to help superhero-mad Ellis meet Spiderman, Batman, Captain America and the red Power-Ranger, and even enlisted the help of some real life heroes.
On Saturday morning, little Ellis was woken up by a knock on his front door from Nice 2b Nice founder David Freer. He was then introduced to his chaperone for the day – serving Royal Marine Billy Mackay, who arrived in a limousine.
Just moments later, Ellis was stunned when his ultimate hero, Spiderman, arrived in a Lamborghini Hurricane, followed by Captain America in a Mercedes, the red Power Ranger in a Nissan GT-R and Batman in a TVR-Tuscan.
Together with a convoy of five more sports-cars, including a Porsche 997 Turbo, two BMW M-3s, another Nissan and another TVR , Ellis and the superheroes travelled to Butterflies Day Nursery, where they were greeted with balloons, cupcakes and cheering children and staff.
They spent some time playing games – and it wasn’t long before Spiderman and Batman got stuck in with their colouring books and cupcakes.
But the surprises weren’t over for Ellis, who was whisked away in his convoy to Fort Paull, a fortress in Hull, to meet some superheroes of the past.
Ellis was greeted by a solider dressed in full World War Two uniform, before being taken onboard the Blackburn Beverly, a plane flown by the Royal Air Force Traffic Command. He was allowed into the cockpit and even flew the plane with Spiderman at his side – pressing every switch within touching distance.
After enjoying his flight, Ellis was given a special tour of the Fort, including its secret rooms and armouries. Waving goodbye to his World War Two solider, he climbed back into his convoy for yet another surprise – a trip to meet some real life heroes at Humberside Fire Brigade.
Meeting the firefighters at the Clough Road station, Ellis was able to board a fire engine. With sirens blaring and blue lights flashing, he was taken for a ride – before returning to the fire station to have a go at spraying a hose, and sliding down a fireman’s pole.
His time at the fire-station was interrupted by a call saying there was a police emergency at his home address – and Ellis was needed to help catch Billy the Burglar.
Arriving at Humberside Police Station, Ellis was formally sworn in by Chief Inspector Dave Houchin – and was presented with his very own uniform.
Once the formalities were over, Ellis jumped in his very own police car along with Sergeant Chris Swaby in search of the burglar. It didn’t take long before the force’s newest recruit spotted Billy. He locked him in handcuffs and escorted him to the police station where he was thrown into jail – and Ellis was rewarded with a cuddle from police-dog Mia.
Chief Inspector Houchin then presented Ellis with a certificate to thank him for removing Billy from the streets of Hull.
Ellis and his superheroes then travelled on to his last surprise of the day – bowling at Hull’s Hollywood Bowl.
Speaking on Facebook after Ellis’s day, his mum Sam Lawday said: “Wow what can I say as words don’t seem enough for what you all did for our little boy. It was the most amazing day he has ever had and I’m sure he will keep the memories forever. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done.
“What I would say to anyone following this charity is please support it. Dave and all the team work so hard to make dreams come true but still need your support to make things like this happen. Thank you again from a very overwhelmed mum.”
David Freer had the idea to treat Ellis to a special day after meeting his mum at a Child of Courage awards. He said on Facebook: “Sam said Ellis is superhero mad and any surprise day based around that would be amazing. Well, that’s just what we did and after several weeks of planning the day finally arrived to show Ellis just how brave we think he is.”
Hirschsprung’s disease affects just one in 5,000 people. It is a bowel disease that leaves sufferers unable to digest food properly. Mrs Lawday said: “Ellis has to be fed parental nutrition via a central broviac line that is inserted into the main artery which sits in the top of his heart.
“He also suffers with dehydration and hyperglycaemia, he has a stoma and gastro tube for all his medicine and to vent him. Ellis’s condition is a life limiting condition but with no time span as he could get a infection and we could lose him.
“Ellis on a daily basis is really poorly with good days and bad, however he never fails to amaze us with his strength and drive and we wouldn’t change him for the world.”