Meningitis in your words

Eileen Molloy's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Eileen Molloy
My story began twelve years ago. Our daughter, Louise was born on April 26th 1998 and died from meningitis on September 20th, 1998 at just 4 months and three weeks old.

Time stood still, grief took over and we just went through the motions of living, having to care for our three other children. It was so hard.

I took up walking as a pastime and the walking increased to running.  I had enjoyed running in my younger days but at 39 years of age it was a new challenge on mind and body.

I ran, joined a gym, met lots of new people, in particular Sharon and Andrea. We became very good friends. Together we competed in races; I was challenging myself and I really began to enjoy my new hobby.

One afternoon while washing my windows, I rang 11811 and asked to be put through to Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). Before I knew it I had asked to be nominated by them to run the New York City Marathon.

"My daughter Michelle jumped the barriers and began to run with me, we ran the last 6.2 miles together"

After many phone calls, chats, telling my story, making friends with MRF staff, I got two numbers allocated to run the marathon. Myself and Sharon would run the race. This was my chance to do something for Louise

Fundraising took over, which incorporated ‘Win the Teddy’, an afternoon tea dance, church gate collections, non-uniform days in school, bag packing, sponsorship cards and anonymous donations. Friends, family and neighbours were so supportive and full of enthusiasm for me. It was all so easy.

The training intensified alongside Sharon and Andrea; although Andrea was not travelling to New York she trained with us daily, guiding, leading and encouraging at all times. My goal for Louise was in sight.

At the start line on Verrazona Bridge in New York that morning, wearing my purple tee shirt was an amazing experience. Even though myself and Sharon had different wave starts it all went fine. The race began, 26.2 miles. Will I ever make it?

At mile eight some greater strength spurred me on, I knew it was Louise keeping me going. The lump and the load I had carried in my heart for over 11 years lifted. I got such a feeling of happiness, a boost of inspiration, I felt I was being carried, I really enjoyed the race from mile eight, I was very happy to be there.

With the finish in sight at mile 20, my daughter Michelle jumped the barriers and began to run with me, we ran the last 6.2 miles together: “I can do this, and we did”.

We flew home a week later. Back to Ireland to tell everyone of my journey.

Sponsorship money, cards, donations arriving all the time had reached the amazing amount over €18,000…

On April 26th, 2010, Louise would celebrate her 12th birthday and I will celebrate my 47th birthday on the same day. We will that day remember Louise, as I present the cheque to the Foundation in her memory.

The race was run, the excitement now over, but Louise’s memory lives on. On that day in September 1998 I thought my life was over and now, having achieved this goal in my life, I would like to thank everyone who encouraged and supported me along this journey. It was so overwhelming!

I hope my story will help inspire others who may feel in a situation where there is on light at the end on the tunnel. You don’t have to run a marathon or climb a mountain, but believe in yourself and anything is possible.

MARCH 2010