West Hampstead resident Rebecca Jones Leslie, 50, is urging greater awareness of the signs of deadly meningitis after surviving the disease in May 2019. Rebecca is supporting World Meningitis Day (April 24th 2021), raising awareness of meningitis and its life-altering consequences to encourage action to defeat the disease.
Cardiff-born Rebecca had been suffering from an ear infection and working long hours when she became seriously ill. “I had the worst headache,” she said, “Like someone was driving nails into my head. I couldn’t look at the light, I was retching, vomiting, sweating, delirious. I could hardly move.”
A close friend of Rebecca’s had, three years earlier, lost her life to sepsis after going to bed feeling unwell and never recovering. This prompted Rebecca to insist she be taken to hospital.
She said: “When the paramedics arrived, they said I should just call the doctor in the morning. I said I wouldn’t be able do that, because I would be dead. I knew that I was dying.”
Rebecca was taken to St Marys Hospital, Paddington. Doctors spotted purple marks appearing on her legs – a sign of blood poisoning, also known as septicaemia (sepsis), which can be caused by meningitis. Husband James Leslie, 54, was told to leave the room.