Brave Hartlepool mother takes her first steps since losing arms and legs to deadly illness
A brave mother has taken her first steps since losing her arms and legs a year ago after unexpectedly contracting a deadly illness.
Former drugs trial manager Allison Friday, 56, was placed in a coma last year as meningococcal septicaemia – where bacteria enters the blood stream and threatens organs - triggered sepsis.
Initially given only a five per cent chance of survival, she has finally returned to her Hartlepool home and is learning to walk again with prosthetic limbs.
She is now determined to raise awareness of sepsis, saying: “It strikes at random and is more common than people think and I'd like to show what amputees must go through."
Allison and partner David Richardson, a furloughed aviation ground operations manager, have also launched an appeal to raise £25,000 towards the £40,000 they had to spend on equipment she needs to regain her independence.
This includes £15,000 cyborg-like Star Wars stormtrooper hands, with Allison saying: "Arm manufacturers have hooked up with Disney and Marvel to get permission to make replicas of cyborg arms."
Taking that first 40-yard walk earlier last month outside her home was a major milestone.
It has given Allison the determination to build a future with David, 55, her sons aged 24 and 22, and David's daughter aged 24 , who they prefer not to name because one has a sensitive job.
She said: "People are often saying I'm an inspiration for reaching that far. But I just had to do it. You just have to."
Allison initially thought she might be developing flu until she noticed rashes on her body and was rushed to Stockton’s University Hospital of North Tees at the start of February 2020.
Only a couple for three years, David was adamant that he and the three children should stick together, adding: "I love them all and I wanted them to know we would still be a family unit whatever happened."
But Allison fought back and she was eventually transferred to the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where she had six operations and over 30 hours of surgery as both her legs were removed below the knee and both arms below the elbow.
She was fitted with prosthetic limbs last November and was finally allowed to return to Hartlepool after four more months of rehab and physio.
She said: "I have to really concentrate to stand up. It's hard work and painful because my legs feel clamped. I even feel pains in my toes, which are phantom as I don't have any.
"Things are so tiring that if I just make toast I literally then have to sleep for two hours."
Between jobs when illness struck, she has been living on benefits, savings and David’s furlough payments.
She said: "My aim is also to raise awareness for amputees and for those who have suffered a ravaging illness like sepsis, as well as promoting the magnificent work of the UK Sepsis Trust and the NHS, which is why I started my iomwbh.blogspot.com blog.
"It's been a long and very hard learning process for me, but I've had my first walk of hope and now there's some positive light at the end of the tunnel."
Support Allison’s Go Fund Me online appeal by searching for Allison Friday Quad-Amputee Recover Rebuild Renew.