Here Angela, from Limavady in County Derry, tells their story.
“When Ben was born he was perfect. He was born by c-section and home after three days, but on day five he became very sleepy and wasn’t waking for his feeds."
“We took him to the GP who said he sounded ok and was just having an off day. But at 7:15pm that evening Ben went limp in my arms and stopped breathing."
“We rang an ambulance and I did CPR until they arrived, and thank God he came round. We were then blue-lighted to hospital where the doctors were waiting and just took him out of my arms. There was around ten doctors and nurses around this tiny crib."
“It seemed like hours passed and then a nurse and doctor arrived outside the door and we knew straight away that it wasn't good. They told us they were taking him for a lumber puncture and then would speak with us again."
“After 45 minutes, they came back… and those dreaded words came out: “It's meningitis, and all we can do now is pray”. Well it seemed like someone had hit me so hard that l couldn't hear or see or speak back. They explained that he was on the best medication and that they were doing the best they could for him."
“We sat by his crib with the wires and tubes and machines bleeping and prayed that he would make it. The doctors came and went every 15 minutes checking and monitoring him, and there was a nurse there 24 hours. By day three in the hospital it was good news - his vital signs and bloods were on the up. We cried with happiness and we knew he was going to win his fight."
“After five weeks in the baby ICU unit and ward we were going home. After another 12 months of routine check-ups we were discharged from the outpatients. Ben lost his hearing in the right ear, but we were thankful that was all."
“Everything was fine until he was four and at nursery when one day during his Easter break he woke up unwell and l knew straight away. I had a gut feeling that it was back. Round to the GP, and as l lifted up his vest there was 2 spots on Ben's chest. We rang an ambulance and went straight to the hospital again. This time the same thing including tests and a lumber puncture, then we were put in a wee room with a bed a little bathroom and a little kettle and worktop."
“Ben fought hard and won the war again and was home after four weeks. He now has arthritis in both legs and loss of hearing, but he is 11 and loves football and gives 110% at everything he does.”