By 3pm Rachael was taken into intensive care and placed on a ventilator. We were told that there was a 50/50 chance and we desperately hung on to that thought. They fought very hard but at 5.30pm that day she was taken from us, only 24 hours after feeling poorly. Rachael passed over with meningococcal septicaemia. We were devastated and couldn't take it in.
There are days now when we find it hard to cope but Rachael was a fighter and we remember how she would have dealt with it and find the strength to get through.
Rachael was an active 17-year-old who trampolined for Yorkshire and Kirklees Rebound; she was studying for her 'A' levels and working part-time at Turners News with her sister and dad, getting up very early and still looking good; she would look good no matter what time of the day it was.
We keep Rachael's memory with us at all times in the home with photos and little things in her room; when away when we take a photo or memory, we also talk about her and bring her into conversations.
We also set up the trampoline club, Abbey Flyers, in November 2000 just after Rachael's 20th birthday. Rachael's name lives on in the club as there is an Annual Award every year when a trophy is presented in her name to someone who has achieved something special in the year. There is also a Yorkshire Award for the best form at trampolining in the 'Rachael Crowther Trophy' and one at the annual competition between Yorkshire and Northern Ireland. Sheffield Schools also have a trophy to remember Rachael in their annual trampoline competition. Rachael had an enormous amount of respect amongst her peers and elders; she was a very special kind of person.
We will never get over the loss of our precious daughter, Rachael, but in her memory will help in the fight against these terrible diseases; the meningitis C vaccine was available from 1999, one year after we lost Rachael. We will continue to help Meningitis Research Foundation until a vaccine is produced for the B strain.