Over the years, DIY SOS: The Big Build has come across some pretty inspiration families living with and overcoming rare conditions on a daily basis.
However, in last night’s episode (Wednesday, December 11th), viewers were introduced to one in a million toddler called Arlo, who suffers from a condition so rare, it has never been seen before in the UK.
So, what is Arlo’s lung condition and what happened on The Big Build?
Here’s what happened in one of the most emotional episodes of DIY SOS to date!
Who is Arlo?
Arlo Newcombe is a two year old from Chislehurst near Bromley, London suffering from a rare lung condition. After he was born, doctors did not think he would make it past his infancy.
After two years in intensive care at King’s College Hospital, Arlo finally moved home with his family but needed the DIY SOS team to help fix their house up, making it work for him and the care required.
Arlo lives with parents, Mike and Chantal and his two brothers, Luca and Sonny.
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— 💙Ann💙 (@annockh) December 11, 2019
What is Arlo’s lung condition?
Arlo has such a rare lung condition, it’s never been seen before in the UK.
His lungs don’t work and so he is completely dependent on oxygen all of the time.
After he was born, the medical team were stumped by what was wrong with Arlo. It wasn’t until he was six weeks old that Arlo received a diagnosis. It was a condition called surfactant deficiency ABACA3.
Chantal described it as one of the worst of the genetic lung conditions you can get. It is incurable.
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DIY SOS renovation
Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team tried to make the house as functional as possible for the Newcombes, making space for Sonny, Luca alongside all of Arlo’s equipment. Dad Mike told Nick, “at the moment everything is an issue.”
As Arlo needs live in carers, space also needed to be created for them.
But if there’s a team to do it, it’s the DIY team!
They transformed and restructured the house in just nine days. A spare room was added on the ground floor for any potential carer, along with a downstairs bathroom and utility room. All of the necessities for Arlo’s care were fit into the new space, making it functional and practical, as well as stylish.
What did the Newcombe family say?
Mike and Chantal were overwhelmed with their work – particularly the added air purifiers and virus killer that they installed into the kitchen, Arlo’s and their rooms.
After the grand tour, Mike said: “This could never had been done, there was never another way.”
Mike concluded by telling the DIY SOS team:
This has changed the narrative of our whole lives, it’s not some desperate, sad story now. It’s about hope and beating the odds, which is exactly what Arlo does. You’ve quite literally made his life better and his whole world a bigger place.
WATCH DIY SOS: THE BIG BUILD WEDNESDAYS AT 8 PM ON BBC ONE