Life Video

By Jess Grieveson-Smith


A little boy who lost his fingers and both legs to sepsis has never stopped smiling – thanks to his doting little sister.

William Reckless, aged three, defied death after his heart stopped beating due to contracting sepsis from a strain of scarlet fever.

But despite facing multiple amputations, William’s immeasurable courage and help from his best friend and little sister, Georgia, aged two, has meant the tot’s smile has never left his face.

From visits in hospital, to helping her brother reach his toys, and even to assisting with his daily injections, the Reckless family, from Sutton-in-Ashfield have been astounded at how the close-knit siblings have adapted to their new normal – with a grin all the way.

Mum Gemma Reckless, 30, a police officer on leave, said: “I couldn’t comprehend what was happening – as I was told his heart had stopped, the only thing I could remember was me screaming, please don’t let him die.

“But we’ve been amazed by William’s strength and how Georgia has never stopped viewing him as simply William, her big brother.

“The pair of them are only two years apart in age, and before I had to spend nine weeks in hospital with William, I had only ever spent one night away from her.

“But between the two of them, they never made it a big deal.

“William just seemed to accept everything, and even as we told him he’d be losing his legs, and as he woke from the amputation, the smile never left his face.

“Georgia now helps in every way she can – whether it’s getting William the toy he wants when he’s waiting on the sofa, or stroking his head as he has to have two daily injections to help with a blood clot after his surgery, she’s always there.”

William first fell ill in January, with what was a suspected tummy bug that he’d picked up from nursery – but later blood results indicated that William had actually been battling a form of scarlet fever, that had developed into sepsis.

With mum Gemma becoming increasingly concerned as her son failed to regain energy, or eat after being continuously sick, she took him to King’s Mill hospital – where doctors realised straight away, something was terribly wrong.

Doctors discovered the tot’s body had actually gone into septic shock, and were forced to put him in an induced coma to transfer him to Queen’s Medical Centre.

Yet on arrival, Gemma and her husband Mike, a musician, 38, were told doctors were struggling to stabilise their little boy after his heart had stopped.

As the tips of his ears, to the fingers and hands began to turn black, the distraught parents were forced to wait eight days – before William finally turned a corner and was woken from his coma.

Gemma added: “William is very shy but he’s always been a very active little boy, who loves to follow his dad around.

“So when he finally woke, we realised he would face a very different future, as we realised he would have a degree of amputation.

“But as he lost nine digits, and both legs, in less than 48 hours, he was sat up in bed, eating mini eggs.

“Pretty soon, he was telling doctors and nurses his left leg had been eaten by a crocodile and the right taken by a shark.

“He was a fighter, wanting to be back home with his little sister and whilst bringing him home a month ago, we learnt how much independence he has really lost, he seems to have taken it into his stride, wanting to keep up with Georgia, and now relying on her for help too.

“Their bond is beautiful to see, and what I want other parents to take from this, is to really listen to your gut.

“I knew William wasn’t just poorly, and with sepsis being so time critical, getting him there means Georgia still has her best friend, and we still have our son.”