By William Lailey and Jess Grieveson-Smith
An inspirational tot who survived meningitis but lost all his fingers and legs has swapped his wheelchair for a skateboard.
Little Taylor Lewis, from Nottingham, was struck down with a deadly form of meningitis – Meningococcal Septicaemia type w – in April 2015 and has since undergone over 76 operations to help him eventually use prosthetics.
After initially learning to walk on his prosthetics mere weeks after leaving hospital, Taylor began to encounter problems at the beginning of 2019, as the limbs became painful due to the need for more operations as he continues to grow.
But not wanting to stay in a wheelchair, the incredible tot chose to learn to skateboard, using it to scoot around both at home and while outdoors.
Mum Terri Lewsley, 26, couldn’t be more proud of Taylor – who has just started at a mainstream school – and all the odds he has defied.
Terri, a former inventory clerk, said: “He can get some speed on the skateboard, even using it in the kitchen.
“I saw it online and had to buy it – it’s not a full sized one, but one that’s perfect for him.
“He’ll lie down on his tummy and use his hands to navigate his way round.
“He’s gone outside on it, and whilst he has taken a tumble on it before, he loves it and it gets him moving.
“It gives him some of his independence back, which is really important to him – he underwent operations on his hands recently so he can now feed himself, get dressed and brush his teeth.
“Taylor is determined to not let anything hold him back, and so for him, it seems the more activities he can do, the more dangerous they are, the better.”
He was forced to watch helplessly as doctors gave eight month old Taylor just hours to live but the courageous boy continued to fight and came out of a coma after 17 days.
Taylor, who is now four years old, needed his left leg and all eight fingers, two thumbs and toes removed after they turned black in 2015 – and later had to lose his remaining legs as well.
But despite all of this, Taylor is still relentlessly determined to get his mobility back, loving to be outdoors – and his mum loves to watch him explore.
She added: “It was the worst day of my life when doctors prepared us to say our goodbyes, his legs were black and he was hooked up to every machine possible.
“I just prayed he would pull through and after surgeons amputated his left leg, toes, and fingers on both hands, he started to improve and smile again.
“He was given his prosthetics four weeks after being discharged in 2015, and a few weeks later he was able to stand and take those first few steps after gaining his balance.
“I was so happy I could have cried when he stood up for the first time, Taylor is the biggest fighter I have ever known, he’s amazing.
”He’s never been one to ask for help or complain but the pain is clearly getting to him as he’s spent the past ten months in a wheelchair.
“Yet now he skateboards, he loves to go from room to room, preferably as fast as he can, and will knock into you if he can.
“He is still the same cheeky kid he always was.”
Taylor first fell ill on April 20 2015 when he had been put to bed as normal – but in the early hours of the morning, Terri noticed he had a temperature.
She said: “He was boiling hot but was shivering as though he was cold, after dialling NHS Direct with his symptoms, I was told to call an ambulance.
“But after going to hospital Taylor seemed to perk up and we were sent home, at first I was relieved but this was short lived.
“What happened next was just the start of our nightmare, once back home he went downhill and wouldn’t eat or drink.
“When back in hospital his limbs started to turn black as his whole body began shutting down, it was terrifying.
“It was the biggest relief of my life when he started to improve, even though it had left him with life changing damage to his legs and hands.
“I knew he would need his left leg amputated along with his toes on his right foot and fingers but all I cared about was him surviving.
“He was always such a happy, smiling baby before he was diagnosed and that didn’t changed.
“Taylor has amazed doctors with his fighting spirit and although he’ll need operations on his scar tissue for most of his life, I know he’ll manage just fine.
“Having been stuck in a wheelchair for the past ten months we’ve felt like we had gone a few years backwards – but we’re hoping that as his pain becomes manageable, and with the hope of a garden renovation, we can get that progress going again.
“I’m just so proud of him and the ways he manages to adapt every time there’s a setback.
“At the minute he’s happy on his skateboard but I’m hoping that in the future he’s be fitted with full length prosthetics and blades that will enable him to be active as he wants when he gets older.”