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Caitriona’s story

30th April 2015

Patricia Connolly, of Glenavy in Northern Ireland, saw viral meningitis take the life of her 20-year-old daughter Caitriona 10 years ago

Caitriona’s story

To mark the sad anniversary she’s taking part in today’s Belfast Marathon with over 40 family members and friends to help raise awareness of the disease and funds to fight back against it, whilst launching viral meningitis week in the Province.

“We’re scarred by losing Caitriona” she said. “She was such a loving person. We don’t want any family to lose anyone to this disease – it destroys and kills. That’s why it is so important to talk about it and its symptoms.”

Caitriona, a third-year Belfast Metropolitan College IT student, was working in a clothes store on the Friday morning when she phoned Patricia complaining of a bad headache.

She went home and attempted to sleep, but collapsed and was rushed to Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

Her condition failed to improve the next day and Caitriona even whispered ‘help me mum’ to Patricia. Caitriona died a short time later.

The former St Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls, Belfast, pupil’s organs helped three seriously ill people.

Patricia said: “We washed and dried Caitriona’s beautiful hair as she lay lifeless waiting for the organ donor team. My husband and I walked alongside her bed as it was wheeled to the operating theatre, where her kidneys and liver were removed to help three others.”