“I haven’t even got money for a funeral.”
These were the words spoken by Keith Ellick as he told his friend and colleague Addam Smith of his terminal cancer. He was given less than a year to live.
After knowing each other for at least a decade the pair had understandably been through a lot together. But nothing like this. This was completely different. Hearing his friend talk about not being around to see his kids grow up was not something Addam could handle hearing. So he decided to help Keith in the only way he could.
He turned to Facebook. He shared his heartbreak with over 12,000 tradesman on the Builder’s Talk Group. The response was phenomenal. Sympathetic messages and suggestions on how to help Keith and his family came flooding in only hours after Addam shared his video.
With Keith’s blessing, Addam set up a fundraising site with the intention of raising money to help his friend put his affairs in order. The target was set at £2,000. But within 24 hours, the site had raised £8,000. This fund continued to grow more and more as Addam posted updates on his friend’s condition. Further gestures were also provided as people donated football tickets to allow Keith go and watch his favourite teams play. Someone even put Keith in touch with charity team Verrico, who support research into new cancer treatments and provides patients with financial help and support.
Following the overwhelming support, Addam decided to take things one step further. He decided he also wanted to do up Keith’s house and landscape his garden. Materials were donated for the project or money contributions allowed the funding of materials. With this generosity of donations and the dedication of 50 tradesman, Keith’s house was transformed in a week. An emotional week that saw tradesmen work for several days straight, sometimes through the night, to support Keith and his family.
In just one week they were able to fit a new kitchen, a new bathroom, laid new flooring, decorated the entire house and landscaped the front and back gardens. This was thanks to all of the generous donations and tradesman who travelled from all across the UK.
The transformation left Keith and his family speechless. Keith stated “what Addam and these guys have done, and what they’re doing is amazing. We didn’t think it was possible, that people would do something like that for us.”
The house renovation was only the start though. Addam and his team decided that they would also help Keith buy his council owned home. This would provide security for Keith and his family, giving them peace of mind. Addam knew though, he would need a lot more help to raise the £100,000 needed.
Within a day, the story had spread across the world. The tale of generous tradesman helping out Keith and his family encouraged tens of thousands in further donations. Encouraged by national support, Keith and his partner Sasha were able to marry with donations from strangers allowing it to be their dream wedding. But that wasn’t all. Keith’s story was featured in the RAF paper and was spotted by Brew Buttler who recognised Keith from his times in the RAF. He too contacted Addam wanting to help Keith and his family. So they set up something very special. Unknown to Keith, a surprise full military Guard of Honour was organised. All dressed in ceremonial uniform, four of the members even personally served with Keith in the RAF. Addam himself spoke to On The Tools stating that everyone was “blown away” by the gesture.
This project not only displayed a unity between tradesman but also inspired the group to do even more. From that, the ‘Band of Builders’ was developed. They aimed to keep the fundraising going. They also designed a range of work wear to help raise the £100,000 needed to secure Keith’s family home.
But that’s not all. Band of Builders intends to take things another step further and continue to help more people in need.
Check out Keith’s story in the video below.
If you want to help #givekeithalift please head to www.bandofbuilders.com to support the cause. Or please donate now on www.gofundme.com. No donation is too big or too small, but all go a long way to help out Keith and his family!