Meet the Superheroes... Robbie Jones

July 2020

In July, 13 year old Robbie Jones took on a challenge of Superhero proportions. We spoke to his grandmother, Sandra, about why Robbie is such a Superhero to his family.

On an early July evening in 2008, Robbie Jones came down with a slight temperature. He was 22 months old at the time and, as most parents would, his parents assumed it was nothing to worry about. He went to bed as normal, but woke up at 4.30am – at which point his condition had begun to deteriorate rapidly.

His parents knew immediately something was wrong. They phoned Robbie’s grandmother, who lived around the corner, to keep an eye on their daughter whilst they took Robbie to hospital. But, when the grandmother arrived, she told them to call an ambulance instead.

Robbie was getting worse before their eyes. Fortunately, an ambulance was not far away and, when it arrived, the paramedic began administering antibiotics straight away. He was rushed to hospital, and his diagnosis was confirmed as bacterial meningitis.

Later that afternoon, his grandparents Sandra and John travelled to Newcastle General Hospital to be with Robbie. ‘If he hadn’t been the only child in that ward, we wouldn’t have known it was him,’ Sandra remembered. ‘His limbs were going black, as if they’d been dipped in hot oil. His hands were like pigeons’ claws. His legs and the bottoms of his feet were charcoal.’

  

Robbie in hospital at 22 months old


Robbie spent seven weeks in hospital, during which time he endured the amputation of his legs and the tips of his fingers on his left hand. He suffered scarring across his body, which Sandra remembers being particularly difficult due to the pain Robbie felt when his bandages were changed. ‘It was just horrendous,’ she said, ‘It was heart wrenching listening to him cry and feeling so helpless.’
 
Luckily Robbie has since gone on to make a wonderful recovery. Now aged 13, Robbie is positive and outgoing, always joining in with any activities he’s able to do – including disability football. 

‘He took it all in his stride. He never complains – he’s just been great.’ - Sandra, Robbie's grandmother.  


Robbie and his grandmother, Sandra
 
His can-do attitude has kept them going during the 20km challenge to raise funds for Meningitis Research Foundation, as Robbie’s used his wheelchair to do laps around the local area.
 
‘People say, “how do you get through something like that?”’, said Sandra, ‘But you have to. You either bury your head in the sand, or you get up and think, how do we make the best of a bad job? He’s still here, and there’s nothing to stop him having a good career, a good family, a good life.'
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About the author

Holly Edwards
Senior Communications Officer

Hi, I'm Holly, and I joined MRF in 2017.

I'm always looking for stories that will help more people understand meningitis and the devastating impact it can have. Working with people who have been affected by meningitis is a great privilege, and I feel very lucky to do what I do.

Tel: 0333 405 6255