An adorable toddler who suffers from one of the most painful conditions known to medics – meaning she can’t even hug her mum – has been given a boost by kindhearted builders.
Pippa Atkinson, who is nearly two, has an incurable condition which makes her skin so sensitive to blistering that being touched hurts her.
She has to take morphine, paracetamol and – on bad days – sedatives because of her epidermolysis bullosa.
Sufferers are known as “butterfly children” because of the fragility of their skin, and Pippa’s condition is said to be among the 10 most painful in the world, Wales Online reports.
But she has been been given a boost by a charity which has offered to build an extension on her family’s home for free.
Her mum Rhiannon said: “Pippa is doing really well at the moment. She is gaining a bit of a terrible twos attitude and thinks she can do anything whenever she wants but she is still adorable.”
The family had planned to make the family home bigger to make life more easier for Pippa, who was missing 90% of the skin on her hands and feet when she was born.
“We are building a single extension to the back of the property – that is for a kitchen that will have wheelchair access if Pippa needs that,” said Rhiannon, from Ponthir, Cwmbran.
At the side will be a two-floor extension.
“There we’ll have a day room and above that Pippa’s bedroom and bathroom. We are up to wall plate level which means we are waiting for the roof to go on.”
But now a charity named Band of Builders have agreed to do that for free – saving the family about £8,000.
Founded by Addam Smith, the first project was launched in January 2016 to help his friend Keith Ellick after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
After knowing each other for a decade landscaper Addam wanted to help his friend and posted a video on Facebook to try and raise money for his funeral which he couldn’t afford.
But the post went viral, with former Grenadier Guard Addam receiving hundreds of message and ideas to help, including setting up a fundraising site which has so far raised more than £70,000.
When Addam also offered to landscape Keith’s garden he was inundated with offers to help. In the end 50 tradesmen from across the country helped to revamp Keith’s council-owned house in Lincoln.
Not content to leave it there, the gang decided that having carried out around £30,000 worth of renovations to Keith’s council-owned home they would help him buy it – securing his family’s future and helping give his loved ones the peace of mind that cancer had robbed them of.
They also helped Keith have his dream wedding.
In the process the Band of Builders was born.
But they also want to help others like Keith by asking tradespeople and local companies to donate time and materials to help people in their hour of need.
“It’s a similar concept to DIY SOS,” Rhiannon said.
“We’ve got 40 people coming from as far as Dundee coming to give up their time and put a roof on for free.
“It would have cost us about £8,000.
“That means that with the money we are saving we can do the garden which has been completely trashed by the building work.
“We can get other things back to the way they were.
“I think she will appreciate all this as she grows up she will look back and see all the people who have gone out of their way to help her.
“We have been blessed to have all these people help.”
The extension could be life-changing for the youngster.
“For Pippa it means her bedroom will be a nice place to be,” Rhiannon, 31, said.
“At the moment we are doing her dressings in the bedroom so her anxiety level goes up in the bedroom because she never knows what is going to happen.
“When she has the extension the dressing area will be in the bathroom which will be a designated area.
“So she can enjoy having a bedroom rather than thinking being in there will be the worst part of the day.”
One of Rhiannon’s duties is to lance blisters on Pippa’s feet by cutting them with scissors because they grow so quickly.
Some days Pippa can get 50 or 60 a day, including in her mouth.
“It’s really hard as a parent to see a 20-month-old child already experiencing anxiety.”
Treating Pippa in her bedroom is a “trial in itself,” she said.
“For me it will make life so much easier,” Rhiannon said.
Band of Builders founder Addam said: “When Pippa’s family got in touch asking for our help we knew we’d be able to provide skilled labour and materials to help with some of the adaptations that they need.
“Band of Builders is going to help with the roof on their extension as well as a fitting a specialist bath that will really make a difference to Pippa. We’re on the lookout for some local trades to help us and it would be great to get some people from the local area involved.
“Everyone who’s been involved in a Band of Builders project talks about how life-changing it is so if you’re a local trade or local business and want to lend a hand get in touch.”
- To help Pippa visit facebook.com/pleasehelppippa/
- If any companies or tradespeople want to get involved with the project email [email protected]
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