Donate

Family raise £100,000 in memory of their little girl after hospital missed meningitis

15 Mar 2018
Family raise £100,000 in memory of their little girl after hospital missed meningitis

A family from Kent have for the first time spoken out about the failing of their local hospital when their little girl died from meningococcal septicaemia, as they reach an incredible fundraising milestone of £100,000 in support of Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

One year old Maya Ford was taken into Darent Valley Hospital A&E on 1 August 2012 and presented with convulsions, a rash, high temperature and fast heart rate. She died the next day.

Meningitis and septicaemia are deadly diseases that strike without warning. Rapid diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are required to provide the best chance of survival. However, the NHS Trust in charge of Maya admitted failings and have apologised for their inadequate care.

Following her death, Maya’s parents, Louise Whiteman and Tony Ford from Dartford, and grandma, Dawn Whiteman (left) from Crayford, demanded an investigation. In September 2015, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust admitted failing to examine Maya adequately and failing to admit her for observation and tests. It is thought that her death could have been prevented had she been cared for according to national health guidelines.

Since Maya’s death, the family have worked tirelessly to raise funds for MRF, the charity that supported them after Maya died, and Dawn became an Ambassador for MRF – raising awareness of the disease and representing the charity in her local community. Dawn and her family have recently celebrated reaching £100,000 for MRF while reflecting on what they have overcome in the face of such tragedy.  

"Our family were left heartbroken after Maya died. If just one life can be saved thanks to our fundraising and awareness raising then it helps us live with our loss." Dawn Whiteman

Dawn said, “Our family were left heartbroken after Maya died. She was my world, my life, my everything and she was taken from us in just sixteen hours. We need all parents and health professionals to be on high alert to meningitis and septicaemia because there is no time to waste when a child is ill with this disease. If just one life can be saved thanks to our fundraising and awareness raising then it helps us live with our loss. We wanted to make something good come of something so bad.

“We’re thrilled to have passed the £100,000 mark. It means so much to us to be able to remember Maya in this way. We are continuing to raise money for MRF whose support team have helped us immensely ever since Maya passed away. Hopefully we can put an end to this disease so other families don’t have to endure the same pain and heartbreak that we have gone through."

It’s not unheard of for Dawn to ‘paint the town purple’ during the annual campaign, Meningitis Awareness Week, with Dawn’s employer, Wellingtons Electrical leading the way, and shopkeepers all the way down Northumberland Heath high street decorating their shopfronts purple (MRF’s main brand colour) and raising funds.

Dawn’s nephew Paul Whiteman contributed £35,000 of the total with funds raised at a successful banger racing day.     

"Maya’s story is a tragic example of what happens when meningitis and septicaemia are not recognised and treated quickly enough. These funds help us enormously to continue our research, awareness and support programmes to ensure that other families don’t have to go through what Maya’s has as a result of meningitis and septicaemia." Rob Dawson, MRF

Rob Dawson, Head of Support at MRF said, “Maya’s story is a tragic example of what happens when meningitis and septicaemia are not recognised and treated quickly enough. Meningitis and septicaemia are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a third of survivors with life altering after-effects, some as serious as deafness, brain damage or limb loss.

“We're extremely grateful to Dawn and her family, and everyone who has donated in memory of Maya. It’s impressive what a supportive community can achieve together. These funds help us enormously to continue our research, awareness and support programmes to ensure that other families don’t have to go through what Maya’s has as a result of meningitis and septicaemia.”

A Remembrance Fund was set up for Maya and can be found here.

The symptoms of meningitis
The symptoms of meningitis
Meningitis and septicaemia can kill in hours - know the symptoms.
Media contact
Holly Edwards - Communications Manager
Tel: 07875 498 047
Share this