20-Year-Old Athlete to Have His Legs Amputated Just Days Before Birthday

Not long ago, Levi Dewey was living an active life, playing soccer for the local club in Willington, England, while working as a welder to build a future of bright, indefinite dreams.

No more.

On Jan. 24, two days before his 21st birthday, Dewey will undergo surgery to amputate both of his lower legs in a desperate bid to save his life, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The former athlete with Willington Football Club in Derbyshire has spent the past few weeks battling the flu, pneumonia and sepsis, according to ITV.

On Dec. 7, Dewey came into Royal Derby Hospital with flu-like symptoms. It was difficult for him to breathe. It grew worse. Influenza B and pneumococcal pneumonia attacked his body. Septic shock and multiple organ failure followed.

The welder for construction equipment manufacturer JCB had a 30 percent chance of survival. His family said he was labeled one of the sickest patients in the country.

Then came 31 days on a ventilator; 14 of them were in an induced coma. He was moved to a different hospital and given what is known as ECMO — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — and full organ support.

Once those challenges were behind him, the doctors gave him the news: Sepsis had attacked his legs so extensively that amputation was necessary.

Dewey’s mother, Lara Dewey, 47, said she knew early on that her son’s plight might come to this.

“We were told fairly early on that Levi could potentially lose his legs and need an operation. We were prepared for this outcome if it was to save his life,” she said.

“Obviously, it’s going to be life-changing for everyone, but this is something we can work through as a family and we have such a strong and positive support network. Levi has always had a positive mindset and his glass is always half full,” she said.

On a GoFundMe page set up for Dewey, family friend Anna Scott wrote that, “Despite this news, Levi remains optimistic about his future. He is so grateful to be alive after these life-changing events.”

By Friday, the page had raised more than £58,000 (nearly $72,000 in U.S. dollars) with more than 2,000 donations.

“It’s overwhelming and emotional and we are all speechless. It’s amazing how supportive friends, family, colleagues, communities and also strangers have been towards this cause and also their generosity,” Lara Dewey said, according to ITV.

“Initially the money will be used to buy Levi a wheelchair and for home improvements, including ramps and showering facilities. Once he’s able to walk again we will look at buying him the best prosthetic limbs possible privately and any further equipment he will need,” she said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.