In 2009 my (then) 7 month old son Harry contracted Meningitis B Septicemia. It was Friday 11th September, and Harry was rushed into hospital, critically ill and fighting for his life. There was nothing my wife and I could do except hope and pray. It was heartbreaking watching our baby laid out unconscious, whilst countless doctors, nurses and consultants went to work on him. He was wired up to all sorts of machines which were basically keeping alive. We were told to prepare for the worst.
After several hours, they managed to stabilise Harry enough for him to be transferred to Alder Hey Childrens Hospital, where specialist doctors were waiting for him. We followed on up there in our car. The journey was horrendous. Just silence. Both of us in total shock. When Harry arrived at Alder Hey, he was immediately rushed into Intensive Care, and we told that the next 24-48hrs would be critical. If Harry didn't respond to the treatment, then we would lose our beautiful little boy. We spent every waking hour at his bedside, only leaving for a couple of hours during the evening to have a quick nap in the hospitals parents accommodation. We prayed like there was no tomorrow. We asked God for help. Non of us are particularly religious, but at times like that, you need all the help you can get! I developed a strange habit of touching every single window as I was walking down the hospital corridors. For some reason I thought it would bring us good luck! Bizarre isn't it, but as I said, we'd do anything just to have our baby back home. Of course the reality was, the only thing we could do was to simply be there for him.
We took this picture of him a couple of days after he arrived at Alder Hey. CAUTION: It's graphic and very upsetting!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday passed without much change, but finally on Monday morning, Harry started to wake up. We were ecstatic. We were taking it in turns to run outside and phone our family and friends. It felt like we'd won the lottery. It was an amazing feeling. Unfortunately, we were getting carried away, unaware that Harry still had a battle on his hands. Just a couple of hours after waking up, Harry had a violent fit. We both came crashing back to earth with a painful thud!
He spent the next couple of weeks in intensive care, before being transferred to the high dependency unit. He was out of the 'critical' category, but now the doctors had to deal with many nasty open wounds on his body, caused by the septicemia. He also had to have numerous scans and checks.
A few weeks later Harry was well enough to go home. We were so thankful and obviously incredibly happy. Aside from the numerous scars, he seemed to have walked away scott-free! Sadly this hasn't been the case. As he got older and started to walk, we noticed that he appeared to have a limp. We took him to the doctors, who then referred us back to Alder Hey. There they discovered that both of his hips were decimated by the meningitis, as well as both of his legs. He will require several major operations, including two hip replacements. He's now 4 years old, and has recently started infant school. He requires a wheelchair as he is severely limited with his mobility.
Meningitis is a killer, and sadly it's more common in young children. The Meningitis Research Foundation estimate that more than 1000 people die everyday because of this disease. If you're a parent, then I'd urge you to look at the MRF website to familiarise yourself with the symptoms... it could save someones life. http://www.meningitis.org/symptoms
The MRF are an independent charity working tireless to find a vaccine for Meningitis. They also conduct vital research, as well as promoting life saving awareness, and providing support to those affected.
On December 15th 2013, myself and nine friends will be climbing Mount Snowdon in Wales to raise much needed funds for the MRF. We're hoping that the mountain will be covered in snow at the time, making for a much more challenging climb to it's 3560ft summit! I've set up a fundraising page via Virgin Money, so if anyone could sponsor me, that would be absolutely brilliant. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/snowdon13
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