A father is set to get a later Christmas present that will completely change his life – a new pair of legs.
Matthew Parkes will be fitted for prosthetic legs after managing to raise £14,000 following a holiday horror incident that left him clinging to life.
Matthew, 39, was given just days to live after collapsing on holiday in Majorca.
Following months in a coma, the brave dad had to have his legs amputated at Wythenshawe Hospital.
One year on and life is now very different for Matthew, his wife Pamela and their daughter Sophie, who live in Cheadle Hulme.
But thanks to family love and support Matthew, who joined a panel for charity UK Sepsis Trust at the House of Commons in July, has learnt to embrace life again.
And having raised more than £14,000 in generous donations throughout 2016 – plus some Government funding – he can now afford his dream legs to help complete his recovery.
In January, he will be fitted for them – plus prosthetics for the thumb and forefinger on his left hand, which he also lost to sepsis.
Matthew, Pamela and their daughter Sophia, five, had a quiet family Christmas in preparation for the important operation.
Matthew, 39, told the Manchester Evening News : “Getting better legs is massively important. I do the school run and am out and about most days. But when I get home I want to rip them off they are so uncomfortable.
“Better prosthetics will make so much difference, thank you to everyone who has supported us and donated.”
He added: “It’s gone so quickly with all the challenges we’ve had to face.
“Last Christmas I wasn’t really with it. I was on so much morphine that I just floated along. This year, I cooked Christmas dinner .
“Support from family and friends has been unbelievable. Pamela has been the most supportive and loyal wife, she’s got me through this. I don’t know how she did it.
“The kids and our friends are amazing too.”
Matthew, who still suffers post-sepsis disorder, which on some days leaves him severely unwell and bed-bound, is passionate about raising awareness through the Sepsis Trust, for which he is an ambassador.
Following his House of Commons appearance, he also introduced new film Starfish – which discusses sepsis and its complications – at the HOME theatre.
In February, he will even brave a parachute jump to raise cash for the charity.
He added: “It’s about raising awareness about its effects. It kills 44,000 people a year and we need to get that number down.”
He also hopes to promote education on accepting people’s differences, having experienced ignorant public reactions since losing his own legs.
Wife Pamela, 41, a marketing director, is now working to support her family, including her three children Sophia, Luka, 12, and Helena, 13.
She said: “It’s been hard, challenging, the most bizarre year of our lives. Matthew can’t work any more but I don’t mind.
“It took some time to realise the enormity of it but he’s handled it so well.
“I’d say we are happier than we have ever been, our marriage is stronger than it ever was and we know if we can get through this we can get through anything.
“We are a lot more caring and compassionate towards each other. If you are so close to losing the person you love, it makes you appreciate them so much more.”
The family have certainly kept their sense of humour throughout their ordeal.
In October, to mark the one-year anniversary of Matthew losing his legs, they had a ‘cut your legs off party’, complete with a special cake.
Pamela added: “We wanted to celebrate how far he’s come rather than feel sad about it.
“We lost a few friends to cancer lately and when you look at life like that how can we get depressed?”
Matthew’s ordeal began while on a wedding anniversary holiday in Majorca in 2015 with Pamela and daughter Sophia .
He developed a sore throat. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he suffered multi-organ failure, renal faliure, blood disease and was placed in an induced coma on August 6.
Severe impact on his circulation turned his legs black.
At first, Matthew was trapped in a private Palma hospital because Wythenshawe’s ICU was full.
But Pamela battled to get him a place and he was flown back on September 9. For two months, Matthew remained in a coma, battling infection and disease.
But he was finally woken up in September to be reunited with his family.
Doctors believe he had a severe reaction to a Streptococcal infection.
You can donate to the parachute jump at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/matthewparkesskydive