Seven-year-old William's charity challenge for hospital that saved his life

William in hospital 1

Posted on: 27 Feb 2024

A seven-year-old boy, who underwent a double leg amputation and survived sepsis, is taking on a big charity challenge in aid of the hospital that saved his life.

William Reckless, from Huthwaite, was struck down with sepsis in January 2020, at just three years old.

After attending King’s Mill Hospital, William was put into an induced coma and transferred to Nottingham Children’s Hospital, at the Queen’s Medical Centre, for specialist care.

Mum Gemma Reckless explained: “On arrival at QMC William suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. At that point we were told to prepare for the worst – he was not expected to survive.

“Thankfully, William pulled through. But it was a long and tough journey. His kidneys were failing meaning he required intensive haemodialysis, his lung had collapsed and he required multiple chest drains, and he suffered brain injury.”

The sepsis had caused irreversible damage, which meant William had to have both of his legs and nine of his fingers amputated.

Now, four years on from his ordeal, William has decided to mark the fourth anniversary of his amputations by taking on a challenge in aid of Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

On Sunday 3rd March William, who uses prosthetic legs, will be walking two miles, and cycling a further two miles on his hand cycle – totalling four miles, to reflect the four years since his amputations. His challenge will take place at Kingsway Park, in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, surrounded by friends and family cheering him on.

Mum Gemma said: “This will be the furthest William has ever walked – mix that with an exhausting two-mile cycle and it’s going to be quite the challenge for him. He will be spurred on by little sister Georgia, who has been his biggest motivator and helper since day one.”

William and Georgia Reckless stand and pose for a photo

William with his little sister Georgia

The money William raises through his challenge will go to the Big Appeal for Nottingham Children’s Hospital. The Big Appeal was launched by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, to raise £1.5million to fund improvements to facilities such as play areas and family rooms across Nottingham Children’s Hospital and its new Neonatal Unit.

Gemma said she and her family were forever grateful for the care they received at Nottingham Children’s Hospital: “Although we were living every parent’s worst nightmare, everyone at the hospital was incredible. They not only looked after William but supported our entire family.

“Whilst William was in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) we were given a room a short walk away, which was funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, so that we could grab a few hours’ sleep and a shower, but know we could be back at his bedside within minutes if the situation were to change.

“This meant everything to us, I couldn’t bear to be apart from him at that time. In fact, I left home with William in January, leaving my husband Mike with our one-year-old daughter Georgia, expecting to be home in a few hours with some antibiotics. However I didn’t return home until over two months later when William was discharged.

“Since that time, we have always said we wanted to do something to give back to Nottingham Hospitals Charity. They do such amazing work and it was because of them we were able to stay at the hospital, in a bedroom just down the corridor, in those early days and weeks he was in PICU, when the thought of leaving him was unbearable.”

Charity Stow, Community Fundraiser at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We are so grateful to William for taking on this fantastic challenge in aid of the Big Appeal for Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

“We know this will be a big challenge for William, but we’ll be rooting for him every step of the way. He’s already overcome so much, and we know he can complete his four arduous miles with the support of his family and friends.

“The money William raises will make such a difference to other children like him, and parents like Gemma and Mike, by enabling us to fund more equipment and facilities for other patients and families at Nottingham Children’s Hospital. Good luck William!”

To sponsor William’s fundraising challenge, please visit

William Reckless is on his hand cycle and has stopped for a photo. His pet dog is behind him.

William riding his hand cycle


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