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meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

People who are faced with meningitis and septicaemia have to act fast to help save a life.

Lewis Charles

Meningococcal disease at 6

Meningococcal disease

Our story started on the 9th February 2005 with my son Lewis who was six years old.

A couple of days before, Lewis had been poorly with a cough, cold and generally run down.

On the 8th Lewis had been sick before bed with a slight temperature. We made him up a special bed on the floor with a bucket, nothing worse than throwing up out of a top bunk!

Next morning he looked ok so we left him to sleep. I took my daughter to school, my sons went off on the school bus. I came back and tried to wake him, he wouldn't wake and seemed very drowsy. I knew straight away something was wrong, I pulled his top up to see the septicaemic rash over his chest and panic set in. I knew his best chance for survival was antibiotics, and quick. My husband phoned our doctor, who was with us within minutes, and gave him his first dose of antibiotics, no messing and was fantastic. We also called an ambulance. All this time Lewis was in and out of consciousness.

We went to Treliske Hospital in Truro where the staff in A&E were fantastic. We were in hospital for just over a week and I stayed with him the whole time. He was put into isolation and the septicaemia spread all over his arms and legs. He was very weak, he couldn't walk or stand up and had to be carried in and out of the toilet and have everything done for him.

Family and friends were brilliant, my husband looked after our other children at home and visited every day.

Lewis came home with no serious side effects, he had blood tests and a hearing test and was given the all clear six weeks later.

He was a very brave boy - he is however very clingy and does lack confidence in some things, but that's not a problem because he's still with us. If it wasn't for the quick work of the medical staff and the antibiotics they gave him, he may not have been so lucky.

I thank the Meningitis Research Foundation for all the wonderful work they do that goes to help save people's lives and we raise money whenever we can.

It's still very scary and upsetting thinking back to what happened, holding your child, not knowing whether they will wake up or not, but it helps to know the signs of the disease. I always make sure I tell people to keep your symptoms card pinned up somewhere, when your child brings it home from school, you may need it one day.  

We have a puppy now, we had him for Christmas, so we can go for long walks and encourage Lewis to be a bit more adventurous, and improve his confidence, when he talks to people and tells them about his puppy. The dog loves Lewis (especially his ears), and our other children, and I hope they like him! They named him Storm and it's absolute chaos when they're all together, but I wouldn't be without any of them.

HELEN CHARLES
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