IT is a cruel twist of fate that has left a community devastated.
Just days ago young dad Alex Lewis, who became a triple amputee when a cold developed into a flesh-eating bug, beamed as he told how much he was loving life back at home.
He was set to attend a massive fundraising festival his local community has arranged for him this Saturday and he was counting down the days until he could wheel himself onto the stage in his new sporty chair using his remaining arm - the arm he regarded as the ultimate gift.
But the 34-year-old dad, his partner Lucy Townsend and their three-year-old son Sam have suffered a tragic blow.
Alex was yesterday admitted to hospital and he has undergone an emergency amputation of his only limb.
Today he will wake up facing a future as a quadruple amputee. However testament to his positivity, he referred to the news as a ‘minor setback’
He said: “All of you make this minor setback a walk in the park, excuse the pun, with all your support I continue to feel humbled everyday and I still can’t thank everyone enough for what they have done and what they are about to do for the trust.
"You are all amazing.”
Alex pictured last week with organisers of The Bridge Music Festival which takes place this Saturday in aid of the Al Lewis Trust
The Daily Echo exclusively reported how Alex lost three limbs, part of his nose and his lips when the normally harmless bacterial infection Group A Streptococcus in his rare case rapidly developed into multiple organ failure, septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome.
Remarkably he beat the odds to survive and underwent pioneering surgery he described as 'off the scale' to save his right arm.
Medics performed a 16-hour operation in which they stripped his arm back to its skeleton and pieced it back together using large parts of muscle and nerves taken from his back.
That battle paid off.
Alex was recently fitted with a basic prosthetic arm but relied on his reconstructed right arm to help him get around his Stockbridge home
Alex, who felt lucky he had one remaining tool for doing things most take for granted like sending a short email on his iPad using the underside of his little finger, explained the nerves were re-growing impressively and soon he’d even be able to feel his thumb twitch.
But last Friday, the day after he appeared on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield before enjoying an evening in London with his best friend and carer Chris Bagley, Alex broke his arm in three places.
Hospital scans revealed that the Strep A has caused an infection and seriously damaged the bones, making them weak and irreparable.
He now faces six weeks in Salisbury District Hospital where doctors will also perform surgery to reconstruct his lips.
Lucy, who runs Michelin pub of the year The Greyhound on the Test in Stockbridge where the couple live, said yesterday: “He is still wonderful and full of spirits.
"He’s a little scared in case they find something else but he hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
“We hope they will amputate below the elbow but they won’t know until they operate and see how badly damaged the arm is.”
Alex pictured with his beloved dog Holly at his specially adapted home in Stockbridge
Saturday’s fundraiser, which will see hundreds of people descend on Stockbridge to raise money for the Al Lewis Trust set up to help the family with rehabilitation costs, will go ahead.
The family event at Stockbridge Recreation Ground will start with a community fete from 1pm before The Bridge Music Festival will see bands take to the stage from 2pm until 11pm with a fireworks finale.
Tickets costing £3 must be bought in advance for the evening’s entertainment but anyone can turn up to the fete.
For information about the fundraiser go to thebridge.moonfruit.com
For tickets go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-bridge-music-festival-tickets-12037138405?aff=eac2
To support Alex and make a donation go to www.alex-lewis.co.uk