Meningitis in your words

Cherese Hein's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Teenager
  • Relationship: Friend
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Cherese Hein

I am writing this on behalf of myself and my daughter Clare. Cherese was Clare's best friend a wonderful beautiful and full of life young woman. It was in the month of February some five years ago when she took ill. Clare went to see her at home, she was in bed complaining she had the flu.

The day after Clare got a call from Cherese's parents explaining that they had to take Cherese to the hospital. We waited a while then decided to go to the hospital still not knowing what was happening.

When we arrived we were told she was in intensive care so we made our way there. When we got there we buzzed and a nurse came out said she would just have to speak to Cherese's parents – still we never considered it being bad news, she just had the flu. The nurse came back and took us into a side room, from this moment on I don’t think our lives will ever be the same. The nurse explained that Cherese had contracted meningitis and was really poorly. The questions followed: what can you do, will she be ok? The nurse’s reply was I’m so sorry but Cherese is brain dead. Silence, horror, not believing. We sat, surely this can’t be true? We travelled home in disbelief – she was 19 years old.

"Cherese looked like she was asleep, as beautiful as ever."

We got home not knowing what to do. Clare agonised on whether to go back and see Cherese, she decided she wanted to so we drove back to the hospital. I accompanied Clare in the room; Cherese just looked like she was asleep, as beautiful as ever not a mark to be seen, apart from the machinery she looked as perfect as always. We spent time with her, gave her a kiss – both Cherese and my daughter were due to go on holiday so I kissed her cheek and told her I hope she was on that beach and having fun.

We returned home, didn’t sleep sat by the phone praying that there had been a mistake and she was now going to be fine. That call never came.

Clare returned to the hospital the following day: Cherese’s parents, brother and all her friends were there when the life support was turned off, she was gone at 19 xxx we miss you xx

Now going back to when Cherese was at home; her parents had called the doctors , ambulance etc as she had taken a turn for the worse, violent headache being sick etc. The ambulance would not come saying it sounded like she had taken too many tablets. Her father and brother had to carry her to the car and to the nearest hospital. Once there it was all actions go, an ambulance was called but as we now know it was too late.

So all i would like to say as a parent, friend, family member etc you know your children, trust your instincts and stay until you have the answers you need.

Clare did a skydive to raise money and awareness and we have done some stalls to raise money to help combat this dreadful disease. Thanks for reading our story.

JULY 2010