Saturday, 20 August 2022

Little Mr Brave

THIS is Kyle Limbrick, one of the bravest boys around.

THIS is Kyle Limbrick, one of the bravest boys around.

The 11-year-old from Sonning Common suffers a combination of health problems for which he has needed a series of painful operations and which has left him partially sighted.

Yet Kyle battles on without complaint as he tries to lead as normal a life as possible, impressing his family, friends and teachers at the village Primary School.

Now he has been given an award in recognition of his courage.

Kyle suffers from coeliac disease, which makes him allergic to wheat and gluten, asthma and Crohn’s disease.

He has only one working kidney but has needed a number of operations on it over the past year.

He also suffers from keratoconjunctivitis, an eye disease that inflames the cornea and has left him partially sighted and very light sensitive. It means he often has to wear a hat and sunglasses, even in the dark, and must wake up at 6am to adjust his eyes before going to school.

He also requires a large dose of steroids every day.

Kyle was nominated seven times for the bravery award that he received at the Oxfordshire Youth Awards last month. One nomination was made by Club SC, the youth club in his home village where he is an enthusiastic member.

His mother Mandy Butler-Limbrick and his friends were in the audience of 600 people as he collected the award at Oxford Town Hall.

Kyle said: “I was nervous as I walked along the red carpet to receive my glass trophy. I was happy and it made everything I’ve gone through feel worthwhile.”

He showed off the award at a school assembly and said: “Everyone said they were really proud of me.”

Mrs Butler-Limbrick, 38, said: “From day one Kyle has been an inspiration to me. He has shown so much strength and courage over the past 11 years.

“He has suffered with severe eczema, asthma and allergic reactions to food since he was born and has spent most of his childhood in hospital but has never complained. He has taken it all in his stride.”

Kyle has had 11 major operations over the past three years but insists he would rather it was him who suffers than his brothers, Conner, 13, and Lewis, 12, who are pupils at Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common.

“He has had so many operations to remove ulcers on his eyeballs but has never once cried about it,” said Mrs Butler-Limbrick.

“Kyle does not even complain about trekking to the Great Ormond Street Hospital twice a month for eye examinations that hurt.

“After his kidney surgery last year he has gone from strength to strength. He is always so happy to help with anything that anyone asks of him.”

Mrs Butler-Limbrick, who works as a conference co-ordinator at Academic Conferences and Publishing International in Wood Lane, Sonning Common, said Kyle’s award was “amazing” and a welcome surprise.

“It was truly uplifting for us all that he won and in front of 600 people he was not worried at all, grinning from ear to ear,” she said.

“He still thinks he is not worthy of the award as there are far braver kids than him out there.

“Kyle is the strongest child I know and is heading for a great future. He will always have these medical problems but will never let that get in his way.

“I must say he only has limited eyesight and watching him ride off on his bike is scary but he loves the outdoors and, thanks to massive doses of medication each day, he is able to enjoy normal everyday things.” Despite needing 180 days off school last year, Kyle managed to catch up with his work and avoided being held back a year.

In the past, he has shrugged off teasing by other children.

Mrs Butler-Limbrick said: “Kyle would probably say that over the years he has had the mickey taken out of him because of his skin and eyes and the fact he is so pale but he would say ‘never judge a book by its cover’ and he has never let anyone get to him.

“He is an amazing, strong little lad and we all are so proud of him.

“He has had many children and parents turn their noses up at him and move their kids away because they think they might catch something off him but he just laughs and never lets it bother him.”

Mrs Butler-Limbrick, who is married to Ian, 42, an accountant, said she had received lots of support over the years, including from her boss who accompanied her and Kyle to hospital.

She said: “Conner and Lewis have had to be so strong and have spent many weeks without me around but never complain. We have become a very strong family unit and Ian has been our rock with amazing support and understanding for the boys.

“Kyle will eventually have to have a cornea transplant but we’re not worried as he will just turn it into an adventure. He is always more worried about me than himself. We love him so much and we are blessed to have him as our son. Great friends and family have made our lives far easier and for that Kyle is truly grateful.”

Becky Jenkins, youth leader at Club SC, said she was thrilled at Kyle’s award win.

She said: “He is always happy despite being in pain and discomfort much of the time and particularly likes to help out in our tuck shop and to play football. Kyle is much admired by members and staff.”

Kyle’s teacher Charlotte Tugwell said: “Kyle has always managed his situation really well and has managed to keep cheerful even when not feeling at his best.”

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