Quadruple amputee Alex Lewis heads to war-torn Ukraine to help those who have lost limbs

  • ITV News Meridian's Kerry Swain caught up with Alex before he heads to Ukraine

A quadruple amputee from Hampshire is heading to Ukraine to help people who have lost limbs in the war.

Alex Lewis had all four limbs amputated 10 years ago after contracting Strep A.

He will travel in a van, donated by a well wisher, from Poland to Ukraine alongside the doctor, plastic surgeon and artificial limb expert who helped him.

Alex says the 10 years since he lost all four limbs has been the best decade of his life, and he wants to bring that positive message of hope to new amputees in Ukraine.

Alex said: "It's solidarity really, I live an incredible life as a quad amp and I think for them to see that, for them to see that I was willing to travel over to their country, to understand what they're going through, we need to immerse ourselves in their world really to fully understand what they need.

An estimated 6,000 soldiers and civilians have suffered severe injuries in the war leading to amputation. Credit: AP

"I can't imagine what they're going through, I understand as a quadruple amputee what I went through, but to be in a war zone in a conflict zone, are they with their family, where are they being treated?

"I can't begin to understand that concept which is why it's so desperately important I see it with my own eyes."

Dr Geoff Watson, consultant anaesthetist, said: "We're meeting with amputees in Kiev and in Lviv and Alex will be there to say well look this is what happened to me, look what I'm doing now maybe this is your future.

"He is such an inspiration he just puts a smile on your face when you meet him."

Alex had to have all four limbs amputated after contracting Strep A. Credit: Alex Lewis

In 2013, at the age of 33, Alex was close to death after contracting Strep A.

Toxic shock syndrome led to Septicaemia. All four of his limbs had to be amputated and his face was left disfigured.

His adventures since then have included mountaineering, kayaking, sky diving and hand cycling.

Since the war began, an estimated 6,000 soldiers and civilians have suffered severe injuries leading to amputation.

Alex opened a wheelchair factory in Ethopia to help others. Credit: Alex Lewis

Adult sized arms are among kit being packed.

Alex added: "If we were able to get to an amputee we would be able to fit this arm within 24 to 48 hours so they would be able to hold a pen, they would be able to hold their phone, they would be able to eat, pick up a cup.

"It's not just a provision of equipment, it's enabling them to understand that they're part of a wider community and that we can help right from the outset of the amputation, all the way down to hopefully when the war is over and they go back to as near ordinary life as possible."

Alex's mission to help amputees around the world has included opening a wheelchair factory in Ethopia and raising money to send a revolutionary soft artificial arm to every child who needs one.

Alex leaves for Ukraine on Wednesday, February 15, returning home just before the anniversary of the war and the threat of a renewed Russian offensive.