Strangers have rallied around a disabled little boy to raise £18k for a DIY SOS-style project to transform his home so he can access it freely.
Kayleigh Davenport, 34, has been left speechless after the local community pulled together to help adapt her three-bedroom home in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, so it is accessible for her son, Theo, three.
Wheelchair-bound Theo was born with the life-limiting condition Ohtahara syndrome and his ARX gene is mutated which causes a rare type of epilepsy that is resistant to drugs and uncontrollable – affecting his development.
The front of the house has been extended to give more room internally for Theo’s wheelchair and his equipment.
Wider doors will also be installed, making it easier for Theo to move around the house, and the floors have been ripped out and concrete put in so the house is warmer.
The council have offered to renovate Theo’s bedroom and wet room and the kitchen will also be renovated – allowing Theo to access it and take part in family activities as he loves to be around people.
Kayleigh originally started the renovation work herself and didn’t like asking people for help – so her friend, Michelle McCourt, 44, set up a fundraising page to get donations flowing.
The project will cost £18k and so far £7k has been raised – in donations from the local community and businesses.
Renovation work started in the summer – after local building firms offered to help out with the renovation for free meaning that the money raised will be used to make the interior of the house fully-accessible for Theo.
The work will allow wheelchair-bound Theo to move around the house more freely as he is currently unable to access his home using the front door as there isn’t enough room.
Kayleigh says her family is “so grateful” for the support shown for her little boy and said the project feels like a “real-life DIY-SOS project”.
Kayleigh, a teaching assistant, from Lincoln, Lincolnshire, said: “It is completely overwhelming.
“It means the world that everyone is coming together and helping, it is absolutely amazing.
“Theo is nobody to all these people but all of a sudden he is something to everyone.
“I can’t put it into words how grateful I am especially when times are so hard for everyone.”
Theo also has brittle bones – which means keeping him safe and stable in his wheelchair is a priority for Kayleigh.
Despite the challenges he faces, Kayleigh said that Theo is a happy tot.
She said: “He loves the fact that everyone is giving him attention, he loves people, and he loves being in the limelight and the fact he is getting all this attention he is loving it.”
Many local firms have donated to support the project including Pearson’s Builders – who have donated time and expertise to do the building work.
Another company, MKM, donated materials for the exterior build. Bathroom Takeaway has donated a cloakroom set, Balloons by Naomi supported the project by selling bows in aid of Theo, GMB Waste and Lindum Waste have donated skips and Alpha Concrete have given the concrete needed for the project.
Materials still needed include plumbing supplies, radiators, paint, skirting and internal doors, flooring, plasterboard, adhesive and plaster, kitchen equipment and electrical supplies and the family is still appealing for donations.
The project is ongoing with no specific deadline.
During the start of the renovation, Kayleigh and Theo and Sharon moved out of their home and stayed with family members so they wouldn’t get in the way of the renovation work.
They have now worked back into the house as it was “too much” living elsewhere with Theo’s medical equipment.
The project still needs more materials and workers to complete the interior, including a few plumbers. Anyone wishing to help should get in touch via the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheadventureofTheo
This is Theo’s fundraising page: https://chuffed.org/project/lets-make-an-accessible-home-for-theo