A schoolboy who survived an infection which destroyed his skin is now ready for a charity challange to help families just like his.
Seven-year-old Frankie Mould, from Hylton Castle, was just a toddler when the Necrotising Fascitis bug began to attack his back, sides, chest and left leg before he reached his second birthday.
The team at the Royal Victoria Infirmary treated the infection and Frankie, who spent 12 days in a medically-induced coma as he fought for his life, was given skin grafts to help the damaged parts of his body heal after damaged flesh had to be removed.
Today, the Bexhill Academy pupil is fit and healthy, but still has to be treated with cream four times a day because of the tightness left in his skin, made worse when he goes through growth spurts.
His parents Lucy Dove and Wayne Mould, both 31, have nicknamed him Frank the Tank because he is “unstoppable and despite daily pain he manages to get on with life, always with a smile” and believe his non-stop running about helps him cope with the agony, which can be so bad he needs to take oral morphine.
To channel his energy, and because it is too risky for him to play sports, he enjoys running and he is now set to take part in the Sunderland Big 3k on Sunday, May 12, alongside dad Wayne, who runs Dundas Street Launderette in Monkwearmouth with Lucy.
He’s so excited to be taking part in the 3k and he can’t wait and keeps asking how much longer until the day.Lucy Dove
They will be using the run to raise funds for the Lee Spark NF Foundation, which funds research and supports people who are being treated for or are recovering from the bug, as well as their loved ones, while it also helps families who have lost someone through the condition.
The dad and son team will also be cheered on by brother Kayne, nine, and sister Amber, three.
Lucy, who has become a trustee of the charity and helps those whose children have fallen ill, said: “He is so funny and can be quite shy, but once he gets to know you, he comes out of himself, and he’s always doing accents to make you laugh and he loves dancing and Fortnite.
“After Frankie suffered from the bug, I found out about the foundation and got in touch with them, they have a Facebook page and a website offering support and they helped me understand what Frankie would have been feeling, and they send cards and things to help.
“He loves running, but he’s still too young to join a running club, and he can’t really play contact sport, even though he loves boxing, but he really is a fantastic runner and his teacher said we should get him into it.
“He’s so excited to be taking part in the 3k and he can’t wait and keeps asking how much longer until the day.
“Every penny of money raised will go to the charity.
“We really want to raise awareness of the infection and to make people aware that if their child has cut or grazed themselves, this bug is around and if they start to show flu-like symptoms, it could be this bacteria.
“The RVI has done a lot of teaching around it and have learned from Frankie’s case.”