Our son, Harry, died from meningitis on 26th April 2007, aged just 11 years old.
A much-loved boy, the youngest of our four children, Harry always had a beaming smile on his face and limitless enthusiasm for sport and life itself. Harry's short life was extinguished in a single day by this terrible disease and his loss devastated not just us, his family, but our whole community.
Playing football, rugby, cricket, tennis, athletics and cross country - sport was Harry's life, and he excelled in them all. In the four days prior to his illness, he had been unanimously voted 'man of the match' in a rugby competition, played tennis and represented his school in a football tournament at the David Beckham Football Academy. He woke the following morning feeling slightly unwell but with no obvious symptoms; we thought it was just a bug, and by the evening we even thought he was well enough to return to school the following day. It wasn't to be. During the night, he was sick and by 8.30am he was in an ambulance on his way to hospital.
The hospital staff at both Wycombe General Hospital and the John Radcliffe Hospital were wonderful - very caring and compassionate - but despite their best efforts, they were unable to save him.
The decision to agree to donate Harry's organs was an easy one - in life Harry was always keen to help others, and for us, the thought that Harry would live on in some way was of some comfort. We have since had several letters of thanks from the recipients - and this helps us make some sense of the tremendous waste of Harry's young life.