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Beren’s story

16th February 2016

Beren, 6, from Pontypridd, was usually full of energy, but after going swimming he became lethargic and complained of a headache

Beren’s story

At first his parents thought he was just under the weather, but he had in fact contracted meningococcal meningitis.

The disease developed quickly and, despite being rushed to hospital, it proved too much for his body to fight. His father, David, tells the sad story.

“Beren came home from swimming in the evening complaining of a headache. We just thought he was under the weather and let him lay down on the settee. He was very tired and slept straight through the night.

“The following day he was still unwell so we kept him home from school. He slept most of the day, which was unusual for Beren as he was usually full of energy. He wouldn't eat or drink anything and just lay on the settee. In the evening he seemed to pick up a bit and was drinking fluids.

A turn for the worse

“The following day he took a turn for the worse. He was crying and complaining of his headache. His temperature was high and he was confused. He kept repeating himself and couldn't finish his sentences. He was making little sense. We decided to take him to the nearest hospital straight away.

“At the hospital the doctors were initially unsure whether it was a bleed on the brain or something else. He was scared and confused, and eventually became unconscious.

“His heart kept on stopping and the doctors were telling us they needed to move him to another hospital. I got the impression by this time that it was already too late as his heart kept stopping and the doctors were constantly performing heart massage to keep him going.

“They decided to stop after about half an hour and, shortly afterwards, Beren sadly died.

“The doctors were unable to give a cause of death at the time, but suspected meningitis. The coroner carried out an autopsy about a week later and determined that Beren had contracted meningococcal meningitis.

Just assumed it was a cold

“We were both aware of meningitis and the symptoms, but as there was no rash or the dislike of bright lights, we just assumed it was a cold or something similar.

“My GP told me about Meningitis Now and they have been a constant source of support to me and my family in the months and years since Beren’s death.”