Ross Hardwick

Meningococcal disease at 13 months

Meningococcal disease

I am very lucky to have a brilliant and close knit family. Ethan Jon Berry was the newest member of this family when he came into the world on the 21st February 2003. He was a complete and utter bundle of joy and I was absolutely delighted to have a little cousin; the first addition to my family for nearly ten years.

However, as much as I wish this wasn’t true I did have the slightest reservation about having a young cousin coming into the world. This stemmed from the relationship I had with my uncle; from a young age I was always close to my uncle Craig, perhaps both being sports minded helped, but I often spent quite a lot of time with him and I remember secretly being concerned that Ethan’s arrival would alter my relationship with my uncle.
 
Following Ethan’s birth I remember going to see him when I was 14 and he was still in hospital being tiny. I immediately forgot all about my previous concerns as I laid my eyes on him. I felt great affection towards him and I genuinely can say I was overawed by what can only be described as the miracle of life.
 
After a couple of months everything settled down again and Ethan was well and truly incorporated into the family and not such a novelty as every baby is at first. I was lucky in that I was able to go and see him almost every couple of weeks which meant that I saw him a lot more than many people (never enough though).

A few more months down the line I remember him being in a baby bouncer laughing, crawling and making noises of his own accord (the only baby who seemed to growl!).

A year in and he had really developed his own personality, he had a huge one at that. He was truly loved by everyone who was close to him.
 
This beautiful boy was tragically taken from us on the 14th March 2004 by a silent and deadly killer – meningococcal meningitis.
 
Ethan’s death was absolutely horrendous for the whole family. I can’t even begin to imagine what Craig and Anth (his mum and dad) went through and if the truth be told I don’t really want to. However they have been an absolute tower of strength and are truly inspirational. A year after Ethan died, Craig and Anth got married at a very emotional wedding and they have subsequently had a daughter called Hope who is one of three gorgeous little cousins that I now have.
 
Craig and Anth, with the support of their friends and family, have raised tens of thousands of pounds for MRF. It is a fantastic sum of money which everyone should be very proud of and the fact that it still continues to grow is testament to the love that remains for Ethan.