A battling wheelchair-bound Borders lad who suffered a stroke and cardiac arrest switches on his village's Christmas lights

A battling eight-year-old who was struck down by a virus and later suffered a cardiac arrest and a stroke brought light into the lives of villagers in the Borders at the weekend when he took time away from his treatment to switch on their Christmas lights.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 6th December 2021, 2:22 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 2:22 pm
Eight-year-old year old Lukas Thomsom swithced on Ednam's Village Hall Christmas tree lights. With mum Michelle, dad Martin and sister Mia. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Eight-year-old year old Lukas Thomsom swithced on Ednam's Village Hall Christmas tree lights. With mum Michelle, dad Martin and sister Mia. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Until he was four-years-old Lukas Thomson was an active and healthy little boy.In 2017 he became unwell with flu-type symptoms after a virus attacked his heart, resulting in myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle

Soon afterwards Lukas went into cardiac arrest, requiring 30 minutes of CPR, before being placed on an ECMO (heart and lung bypass) machine which saved his life.During his two weeks in ICU his family received the devastating news that Lukas had suffered a stroke following the cardiac arrest.

Four months followed in a neuro-rehabilitation ward where he had to relearn how to talk, eat and move.

Lukas Thomson.

The pupil at Ednam Primary School has worked tirelessly on his recovery and can now stand, and walk, with a little with assistance.

His goal is to be able to run around the garden in Ednam with his younger sister Mia, and fundraising is ongoing to pay for costly private rehabilitation treatments.The youngster received a huge boost when he was invited to switch on his village’s Christmas lights, an invitation he took up amid horrendous weather at the weekend, alongside Mia and parents Martin and Michelle.Martin, a partner with accountancy firm Rennie Welch in Kelso, said: “The local Ednam Together group organised the switch on and they came to us a few weeks ago and asked us if Lukas would like to switch the lights on and he was fair excited at that prospect.

“Unfortunately the weather did not play ball but we managed to pop out and get the lights switched on.

"He gets private treatment called Anat Benial therapy at a hotel in Glasgow every six weeks – that’s where some of the fundraising goes. It’s a neurological treatment that came from America which retrains the brain to get movement back into his limbs by massaging various parts of his body. It’s a hands-on approach, I suppose, and does not involve medication.

"We also go down to Shropshire every eight weeks to try to get him on his feet and that’s costly as well.

"We are seeing signs of improvement physically and he is coming on. Our ultimate aim is to get him back on his feet, because he is wheelchair-bound at the moment, and give him some independence.

"He switched the lights on and then drove back through the snow to resume the three-day treatment in Glasgow.

"He’s happy. Many people in the same circumstances may have gone the other way. With it happening before he was four he has now had more time in a wheelchair than he hasn’t and he’s adapted.

"Ednam Primary School has done wonders and have bent over backwards for him and the kids are brilliant with him.”

Funds were raised for Lukas's treatment collections at Saturday’s switch-on and Martin’s work is organising a sponsored trek on his behalf next spring.

Additionally, the Arsenal Scotland Supporters Club – of which Martin is a member – is to raffle off a ticket for the last game of the season at the Emirates Stadium to help bolster the fundraising coffers.

To find out more about fundraising go to Just4Children.org/team-lukas/