By the time we got to hospital James was semi-conscious and was covered with a purple rash. We were rushed straight to the high-dependency unit. This was when Nick and my mother-in-law arrived and we all just stared at James on the bed covered in wires and unable to take in what was happening. I was sent outside when James had a lumbar puncture, a procedure he remembers to this day. I then had the task of speaking to the local Director of Public Health as apparently there had been a high number of cases of meningitis in the Reading area. I then had to call everyone we had been in contact with in the week before he became ill - his nursery, my friends who had been at the party and all our families.
Thankfully, James responded to the antibiotics that he was given very quickly and within five days was discharged from hospital with no apparent side effects, although the nurse still had to visit us every day to give him his drugs intravenously. We were just counting ourselves lucky when, unfortunately, James was readmitted to hospital with pneumonia, which rapidly developed into pleurisy and necessitated a chest drain and a further two weeks in hospital.
Nine years on and James is a typical 13 year old. He has been diagnosed as having dyspraxia and mildly on the autistic spectrum, but is a very intelligent boy whose ambition is to discover a cure for cancer! We in turn consider ourselves to be incredibly lucky on so many levels. Lucky that our GP responded so quickly by giving James penicillin, lucky that the illness developed during the morning and not in the middle of the night and lucky that I had picked up a symptoms card and had it on my fridge!
My mother-in-law made the initial contact with the Foundation to try and understand the illness. We have had many contacts with the Foundation. We have raised over £10,000 by organising children's sponsored walks. I have also been the media contact for the area and have done several interviews in newspapers, on the radio and on TV. We are incredibly grateful to all the support the Foundation has given us.