This heartwarming footage shows the moment an inspirational four-year-old boy walks for the first time since losing both his legs to sepsis.
Little William Reckless was diagnosed with the illness in January and spent three months in intensive care, where his lower legs and parts of his fingers were amputated.
The schoolboy got a pair of prosthetics in May and spent the following weeks and months regaining his strength, getting used to his new life and relearning how walk.
An emotional video shot last month shows William walking on his own for the first time since he was struck down with the life-threatening illness earlier in the year.
He can be seen slowly talking small steps towards his gran Trish Brennan, who is heard encouraging her beloved grandson by pleading with him to do “a little bit more”.
When the two finally touch Trish gives William a big kiss and his parents, Gemma, 30, and Michael, 38, can be heard cheering with joy in the background.
Gemma said: “When your baby takes their first steps it’s magical but when they have to learn a second time, after months of watching their pain, fear, frustration, hard work and determination, the pride we feel is something else.
“It’s been difficult for us to learn the world of prosthetic limbs, sockets, and liners, it’s new to us all and we’re learning as we go.
“He’s been resilient for his age, the hardest part was at first when he was healing he preferred to crawl as he could get around easily like that and children don’t see the endpoint when working hard towards something.
“But he now understands how important it is, we’ve turned it into a game for him and he’s walking more and more now.”
Gemma, who lives in Nottingham with her family, including two-year-old daughter Georgia, took William to the GP in January when he started feeling unwell.
The doctor determined the youngster had a virus, however, Gemma sensed something more serious was wrong and she took him to the hospital a couple of days later.
She thought they would be able to go home that day but within only an hour of arriving William was induced into a coma, which he remained in for the next eight days.
Gemma said: “Eight days is quite a long time for a child, other children were only on ventilators for a day and could then after a few hours chat with their parents.
“But William couldn’t really interact with others for weeks, or say a word, and would stare straight through you, but then his speech came back so suddenly.”
He stayed on the intensive care unit for three months and was treated for a blood clot in his thighs, a collapsed lung, and a brain injury from a lack of oxygen.
Shocking pictures taken in hospital show William with bandaged arms and legs, marks all over his body and various tubes inserted into him.
Gemma said: “It was awful when he first went into surgery and seeing him in a lot of pain.”
She added: “We were fortunate in not having any difficulties in accessing support, though (due to the Covid-19 lockdown) we’ve not had as many appointments as we would’ve done.
“Since leaving hospital he’s had three physio sessions at the mobility centre, he’s just got on with it, he’s not moaned, and has accepted everything thrown at him.
“His sister didn’t notice his legs and was just happy to have her brother home and her play-mate back after three months- she loves helping him to fetch things.
“He’s still William. He’s adapted amazingly well, he’s still upbeat with a good attitude – better than most adults would.
Gemma blogged William’s journey on the social media pages of her personalised gift business Little Gems, which she had to close when her boy became ill.
The accounts have now turned into fan pages for William, who is affectionately known as ‘the conqueror’.
The Reckless family are telling William’s story in a bid to raise awareness of sepsis and help other people in similar situations.
Gemma said: “So many people don’t understand what sepsis is but the quicker you spot it the less damage and higher chance of surviving you have, for both children and adults.
“William had a lot of symptoms, a high temperature, a rash, not urinating. He was not just generally unwell, you know your child.”
Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by the body’s response to an infection.
Chemicals in the immune system release into the bloodstream to fight the infection which causes inflammation.
Symptoms include fever, blood clotting, less urination, breathlessness, and unconsciousness. Young children and seniors are in a higher risk category than others.
The Reckless family are crowdfunding to help pay for William’s future prosthetics and any home adaptations they need to make.