Meningitis in your words

Ethan Jon Berry's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Toddler 1-3
  • Relationship: Other relative
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Ethan Jon Berry

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.

"This beautiful boy was tragically taken from us"

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.

Ross Hardwick
April 2011