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Steve Dayman can still remember the moment his wife rang him to say their infant son Spencer was ill. More than 30 years later Steve is still fighting to stop more lives being devastated by meningitis.
It was the 1st November in the early afternoon when my wife Gloria called me at the office of the road haulage business that we used to run, to say our little boy Spencer was not very well. He was not his usual self when he awoke from his midday sleep. Normally he would stand in his cot and shake it to try and get out. This time he was lying still and although awake, he could not lift himself into a standing position.
Gloria called our doctor, who suggested she gave him Calpol, although he did not have a temperature. She called the doctor again at 4pm, by which time I had decided to go home early.
The doctor came out at 5pm and examined Spencer, he said that Spencer should go to the hospital just as a precaution. Gloria wrapped Spencer in a blanket and sat in the back of the car with him while I drove.
We arrived at the hospital in Bristol at 6pm, it was about an hour before Spencer was examined by a doctor. We then noticed a small 'pin prick' rash on his stomach. We were told that Spencer was suffering from suspected meningitis. I remember thinking "Thank God they know what's wrong with him".
Spencer was eventually moved to the Intensive Care Unit at 12.30am. During the following hours his heart stopped, the doctors managed to get it going again, but his fight for life had only just begun.
All the next day we were praying he was going to be alright, but at 7pm, just 24 hours after being admitted to hospital, his body was so overwhelmed by meningococcal septicaemia, his heart could not take any more and his breathing stopped.
I held Spencer in my arms, the devastation and emptiness is something I can never forget. Only parents who have been through a similar experience can imagine the pain this terrible disease causes. Spencer's death has completely changed my life.