Alex Lewis, 34, was left fighting for his life when the normally harmless bacterial infection Group A Streptococcus, quickly turned critical, eating away at his flesh. He suffered multiple organ failure, septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome.
Alex survived but lost three limbs, part of his nose and his lips in the fight. Later, his remaining arm had to be amputated after surgery to save it failed. So now he's a quadruple amputee, but one who insisted on living the life he's won to the full.
Alex appeared on a British morning show today and it seems his emotional story has taken a huge turn for the better. He’s now learned to walk again on short custom made artificial legs, shown above, and is planning to walk for his wedding next year on full length prostethics.
He told This Morning's Philip Schofield and Amanda Holden how he’d vowed never to get married at the age of nine - but has had to take that back after asking his partner Lucy to marry him.
“Thankfully, she said yes, so I’m absolutely thrilled.
“When I came off life support, the consultant turned to Lucy and said they needed to ask me a question to make sure I didn’t have brain damage.
“The first thing I said was ‘no’ - so they realised my brain was sound!”
Mr Lewis, who has been undergoing facial reconstruction, surprised partner Lucy Townsend, 41, by proposing and the couple are set to wed in France next year. Ms Townsend, the mother of Mr Lewis's three-year-old son Sam, said she was 'stunned' he finally popped the question.
Lucy’s “incentive” to get Alex to walk again was that she vowed not to marry him while he was still shorter than her without prosthetic limbs. So by then, Alex aims to be up on full-sized prosthetic limbs to stand side by side with his bride-to-be as they exchange vows.
Mr Lewis, explains:
"I decided to propose because of everything that has happened throughout the year.
"Lucy has been my constant support, she has raised our son, she has been incredible. I could think of no better reason to ask her.
"She tells me that she won't marry anyone shorter than her so I have got to be up on prosthetic limbs for that reason alone.
He added the proposal wasn't overly romantic, and said: "If I had tried to get down on one knee, I wouldn't have got up again!"
Mr Lewis, who is being treated at a specialist rehabilitation centre in Roehampton, Sussex, will undergo four more operations next year and hopes one day to chase his son around their garden at home again.