A teenager suffering from Cystic Fibrosis is looking forward to a bit of normality after builders’ charity Band of Builders built him a dream cabin where he can be home-schooled and spend time with friends.
Kyle Sisson, 15, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was just three days old and has spent most of his life in and out of hospital.
The teenager, from Hereford, has no immune system and is vulnerable to chest infections and also suffers from CF-related diabetes.
Over the last 12 months the longest amount of time Kyle, whose dad Gary is a steel erector, has been out of hospital is just five weeks. His condition, which involves an extensive medication regime and daily physiotherapy, means he is unable to go to school or spend time with friends away from school and in turn has led to him being diagnosed with depression.
But thanks to the efforts of Band of Builders, a charity that helps tradespeople and their families, Kyle has his own special place where he can finally lead more of a normal life.
A group of volunteers from the charity spent a week at Kyle’s home in Hereford building a cabin where he can be home-schooled and also spend time with friends without risking his health. Around 22 members of the charity travelled from across the country to work on the DIY SOS-style project, which started on Saturday, October 26 and culminated a week later on Saturday, November 2 in an emotional handover to Kyle’s family.
The group had to contend with a few obstacles, including unprecedented bad weather on the first day of the project that saw a whole month’s rain fall in just one day.
Kyle’s mum Debbie, who herself has suffered two strokes through the stress, said the new cabin would make a real difference to Kyle.
She said: “Not being able to live the normal life of a teenager has been horrible for Kyle and horrible for us to watch. This might just seem like a cabin at the bottom of the garden, but for us it’s completely life-changing. Kyle’s friends can now come to him and he can spend time with them like any other teenager without worrying about fainting or getting out of breath and me having to collect him. It also means he has a proper place to study and focus on his school work.”
During the project, the volunteers were fed and watered by kind-hearted members of the community who provided everything from chicken curry to cakes, while local businesses also got involved donating food and materials for the project.
Debbie added: “Having the Band of Builders here, and seeing what happens when they come – how people just get involved and want to help – is something we’ll never forget. It’s been great for all of us and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done.”
Over the course of the week, Band of Builders erected the cabin at Kyle’s home from scratch, making it fully functioning and decorating it to provide an area for study as well as an area where he can relax with friends.
Stuart O’Brien, project lead at Band of Builders, said: “Like any Band of Builders project, Kyle’s Project hasn’t been without a few obstacles but we’re over-the-moon with what we’ve created for Kyle. The wonderful thing about BoB is that we can call on experts in every area of the building trade and create amazing things for people who truly deserve them. Kyle is a great young man, and creating something that will help both him and his family and really make a difference is a proud moment for all of us.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Attached are images for media use. Please credit Band of Builders.
- The following companies donated materials or other items for Kyle’s Project:- Crown Paints, GlenDimplex, Optimaxx, Velux, CEF, Rubber4Roofs, British Gypsum, Brewers, Green Dragon Hotel, Travis Perkins, Herefordshire Flooring and Carpets, Square Deal Building Supplies, Lee Brothers, Gibbs & Dandy, Electric Base Corby, AJ Lowther, Eurocell, Billy Thomassun, Dickies, Herefordshire Meats Ltd, The Hereford Academy.
ABOUT BAND OF BUILDERS
Band of Builders was formed in 2016 after landscaper Addam Smith asked for help to renovate the garden of his friend and employee Keith Ellick, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Keith lost his battle with cancer in 2017 but Band of Builders continued with the aim of helping other members of the UK construction industry battling illness or injury. Band of Builders was declared a registered charity (Charity Number 1182283) on March 1, 2019.
Previous projects have included:
- Installing a specialised bathroom for Pippa Atkinson, an electrician’s daughter suffering from a rare skin condition
- Landscaping a garden for builder Jamie Thompson, who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease, so he can safely watch his children play, as well as installing a new kitchen.
- Finishing renovations at the home of Elaine Dunphy, whose husband Steve died of cancer before he could finish the work he had started.
- Creating a bedroom for plasterer’s daughter Sadie Jenkins, who had spent the first half of her life in hospital and needed machines to breathe, as well as installing a downstairs bathroom for her carers.
- Installing a summer-house and landscaping the garden for carpenter Dan McIntosh, who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, so he could spend precious time with his family.
For more information on how to become a member or how to apply for help from Band of Builders, visit www.bandofbuilders.org