Cardiff-based Doctor Who author, Andy Frankham-Allen has pledged his support for meningitis survivor Luca Williams.
In January 2012, three-year-old Luca was diagnosed with Meningococcal Septicaemia, a disease that ravaged his body within a couple of hours. With less than a 3% chance of survival, the little fighter pulled through – but at a cost. He lost both his legs from beneath the knee, and much muscle and skin from beneath his hips.
His family began the For Luca campaign – designed to both raise awareness and money to provide Luca with the best possible prosthetic legs for his future. It began with ‘Raising Your Hand’; simple and easy for everyone to support, you simply had to write ‘For Luca’ on your hand and raise it high.
Stars including F1 hero Lewis Hamilton, Kiss legend Gene Simmons and former Guns and Roses bassist Duff McKagan have all offered their support.
It was during the ‘Raising Your Hand’ campaign that Andy Frankham-Allen became aware of Luca at the ‘Avengers Assemble’ red-carpet event in April 2012. Andy Frankham-Allen says: “Luca is an amazing boy; funny, intelligent, and an inspiration to us all. The devotion his family show to him is quite incredible, and it’s great to be able to support him in this way.”
In conjunction with Luca’s family and Waterstones, Cardiff-based Candy Jar Books arranged for a signing of Andy’s new book ‘Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants’, during which he gave out the blue ‘For Luca’ wristbands.
Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar Books – who also had meningitis as a child – feels that Welsh business should get behind Luca’s cause. He said: “Meningitis is a devastating condition for many people and their families. When I first heard of Luca’s campaign I felt compelled to get involved and offer any help I could.”
At the Waterstones’ signing, Candy Jar presented with a copy of Andy’s book and an exclusively drawn portrait of Luca by Cardiff-artist Jack Adams. Sian Williams, Luca's mum, said: "We are extremely grateful for the support Andy has given us through the launch of his new and exciting book."