It has been a happy start to the new year for the parents of an eight-year-old girl with a rare and life-threatening blood disorder, all thanks to an Aylesbury tradesman.
Big-hearted bathroom fitter James Rothwell, who lives in Bedgrove, donated his time for free to repair Nick and Amber Cornwell’s shower as part of MyBuilder.com’s 2013 Hero project.
The Cornwell’s daughter, Brooke, is going into hospital for a bone marrow transplant this month as she suffers from Diamond Blackfan Anaemia (DBA).
DBA is a rare blood condition usually diagnosed before 12 months of age. Patients fail to produce red blood cells properly and need treatment ranging from monthly blood transfusions to regular steroid treatment, and in some cases bone marrow transplant.
Brooke was born with five fingers on each hand and needed operations to turn them into thumbs. The youngster has a condition which means her throat closes up and also suffers with digestive problems.
Brooke’s grandmother Christine, who nominated the family for the free house repair, said: “It all takes a very big toll on the family. Brooke’s mum has to take time off work, and she works nights and it can be very difficult.
“When he (James) came round to check the job out, all she could say was ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’.”
Amber said: “It’s a real financial struggle and it can be very difficult. Brooke can’t bath because she has a needle in 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
With Brooke due for a transplant in the coming weeks, grandmother Christine decided to seek help in getting what she deemed the most important job done to make their lives easier, fixing the broken shower room.
And that’s where Aylesbury ‘Hero’ James Rothwell came in.
“The job was posted on the Hero project website and having read the profile and having kids of my own I thought it would be a good thing to do,” James said.
“I wanted to do something that is directly helping somebody rather than just giving money and hoping it goes to the right places.
“I’ve got growing kids who are fine and getting on with their lives and this family has a young child and has difficulty trying to keep it a sane world for everybody.”
Amber said she was taken aback when James turned up to fix their shower. “I couldn’t believe mum had thought to arrange this for us and that someone was kind enough to give up their time like that,” she said.
The family has been told the house must be sterile when Brooke returns home from hospital and with a new bathroom in place thanks to James they are concentrating on doing just that.
James added: “Hopefully by doing this the family feel like they are not by themselves in this world and that a certain sense of humanity and helpfulness through this process shows that we can actually achieve many things working together.”
The website paid for the materials to help transform the bathroom.