An 11-year-old Melton boy, who is confined to a wheelchair after treatment for cancer, has been boosted by a remarkable community effort and a special message from his favourite footballer.
Local tradespeople volunteered their time to level out the back garden with slabs and create a ramp at William Dack’s family home in the Weaver Green area of town so he can more easily get outside to enjoy it.
And William, who was diagnosed with a spinal tumour in May, has also been thrilled to receive a mobile video message from England ace Dele Alli, who plays for his beloved Tottenham.
The former Brownlow Primary School pupil, who is due to start at John Ferneley College when he feels better, has only recently returned home after being treated in hospital for more than three months.
The last time he was home the garden was uneven with bark and stones so friends rallied around the family to transform it for when he returned.
Mum Karen (37) said: “We are so grateful to everyone who helped out.
“As well as those who did the work, we had people making cups of tea and bacon sandwiches to keep everybody going.
“William was very emotional when he came home from hospital and saw what had been done.”
The idea to redesign the garden came from Karen’s friend, Natalie Brown (33), whose nine-year-old son, Kobey, is a pal of William.
She posted a message on Facebook appealing for builders, joiners and other tradespeople to come and help the family.
Natalie’s dad, Ian Brown – a self-employed builder, and his friend Mick Davies, did a lot of the work assisted by the family’s very own DIY SOS squad.
Local suppliers also gave Natalie special rates on materials and a skip was donated.
“The garden was completely stripped back and then new fencing was put in,” said Karen.
“It’s really been transformed. We had a hand-built ramp put in so William can get out into the garden.
“It has been overwhelming to see how many people wanted to help William enjoy the garden when he came out of hospital.”
Before his illness, William was an energetic young boy who loved hanging out with his seven-year- old brother, Finlay, and playing football for Asfordby Colts.
Karen recalled: “One day he said he had a stiff neck so we took him to Latham House surgery in Melton and then St Mary’s Hospital.
“Then one morning he couldn’t feel his arms or legs.”
An MRI scan at Leicester Royal Infirmary revealed the devastating news that William had a grade four spinal tumour.
He lost feeling down the right side of his body after a biopsy was carried out which led to him needing the support of a wheelchair.
The tumour cannot be removed because of its location in William’s spine. He has had six weeks of intense radiotherapy in a bid to treat the cancer and the family remain hopeful he can recover.
He was being treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital when football ace Dele Alli sent his video message, saying: “Hi William, it’s Dele.
“I am sorry that you are ill.
“I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support and keep
“We’re all going to be supporting you now.”
Individuals who helped on the garden:
Ian Brown, Mick Davies, Wayne Keightley, Neil Stimson, Daniel Cervasio, Ollie King, Reece Elliott, Billy Billingsley (William’s dad) and Emmanuel Akamo (Karen’s partner).
Businesses which helped:
Hercock, Melton Building Supplies, Travis Perkins, K&M Kitchens and Bathrooms, Simon Coombs Fencing, Carrier Landscapes (Simon Charity), Hire Station, Adam Curtis, Jackie Brown, All Things Nice cafe (Casey and Lisa organised a collection).
* Karen’s sister Hayley Sharpley is running the Leicester Half-Marathon in October aiming to raise £1,000 in sponsorship to treat William and his brother Finlay. A donation will also be made to the Teenage Cancer Trust charity fund. To pledge money go online at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hayley-sharpley- 1
* William’s godfather, Simon Burnage, raised over £400 for Macmillan Cancer Support by being sponsored to have his head shaved in the charity’s ‘brave the shave’ fundraising initiative, at the Salvo’s salon in Melton.