Friends’ and family’s DIY SOS plan for St Neots leukaemia patient

THE friends and family of an Eynesbury man diagnosed with leukaemia have taken on a huge DIY SOS-style project to renovate his home before he is released from hospital.

And in line with the hit BBC One show, they need donations of materials to complete their ambitious project ... in just four weeks.

Damian Stone, 33, had just started renovating the downstairs of his house in Howitts Gardens when he became ill with flu-like symptoms.

Two days later – on September 11 – he was taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, where doctors ran numerous tests.

On September 21, he was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

His wife Kylee, 30, said: “He spent two days in bed in a dark room but I thought it was just man-flu so I told him to stop being a wimp.

“That’s when we saw that he was yellow, so I took him to the doctors and we were told that he had a virus. Our whole lives turned upside down when we were told about the leukaemia.”

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Mr Stone was given an intense treatment of chemotherapy which, was started and because of his susceptibility to germs, has prevented his two daughters – girls Bobbie, five, and Eryn, three – seeing him.

Mrs Stone said: “It’s hard to let the girls know what’s going on, and telling them why they can’t see their dad in hospital, but we’ve told them that he’s got bad bugs that he can only have the treatment in hospital,” Mrs Stone added.”

“To help them through we asked Bobbie to name the bugs and she came up with Swiper and Shoplift.”

After learning of his disease, Mr StoneDamian’s friends set up a Facebook page to raise money to buy him an iPad to allow him to talk to his see his girls using on Facetime.

Mrs Stone said: “His friend’s were so generous. I’ve come home from the hospital and my washing and ironing has been’s done, there are meals in my freezer and my lawn is mowed.

“My neighbour will even wash my car if I don’t get up that early.

“It at times like these when friends who you haven’t seen for a long time show how much they care.

“We raised �900 through the Facebook page and so we had some money left over. When my friends were over one night sitting on a deck chair and small sofa bed, as we had got rid of our previous seats to make room for the renovation, we said why don’t we try and get the downstairs sorted for when Damian gets out.”

A week later the living room and hallway were gutted and the renovation started – but help is needed from the Huntingdonshire community with providing the materials needed to complete the job.

James Matthews, 30, of Eaton Ford, who has been friends with Mr Stone for seven years, has taken up the task of contacting businesses to see if they can help.

“As Damian is a carpenter, he has a lot of friends to carry out the work for free, we just need the materials,” hethe 30-year-old said. “Damian and Kylee bought the house in 2003 to do up. They’ve done the first floor but the ground floor needed work.

“Because his immune system will be so poor when he comes out, we want to make sure when he comes out, that he has a nice clean home to come back to.

“We know that because of the disease, Damian will not be able to work for a year, but it could be three, so it wouldn’t be able to be done if we didn’t do it.”

On Saturday, Mr Matthews and his wife, Michelle, joined Adam Waller, Claire Reynolds, Jonathan Durrant, Nathaniel Matthews, Emma Sargent, Daz Sargent, Gill Browne, Gary Murphey, Vikki Morgan, Midge White, Terry White, Russell Walker, Tom Divine, Paul Ashford and Nicola Strathdee to start the work.

Mrs Stone said: “When Damian went into hospital he was concerned about the state of the home, so he will be extremely happy when he finds out knows what’s happening.

“We’re keeping it secret from him, and we’d like to keep it from him until he comes out of hospital, hopefully, in about four weeks.

She added: “It’s hard with the two girls keeping the secret, but Bobbie is very good so when she spoke to him on Sunday about her weekend, she didn’t mention that we had so many people round the house on Saturday.

“We haven’t touched the kitchen and we won’t until we know we can get it replaced.”

On Monday and Tuesday a plumber was installing a new system and an electrician was rewiring the ground floor.

INFORMATION: If you’d like to donate to help with the renovation, contact The Hunts Post on 01480 443472.