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Charlotte's story

11th November 2014

Determined Charlotte is a little miracle after meningitis almost took her young life in December 2010. Despite losing all four limbs to meningococcal septicaemia, she's facing every challenge head on and is an inspiration to her parents Jenny and Alex

Charlotte's story

Little miracle

Jenny said: "It's incredible how quickly she has adapted. She has been so brave. She's already full of energy again and back to bossing us all around!"

The couple, who also have a son, George, were preparing to leave for a pre-Christmas family holiday in Lanzarote when Charlotte developed meningococcal septicaemia.

On the morning of December 10, Jenny realised Charlotte had overslept and went to check on her, immediately noticing three purple marks on her chest.

Immediate action

She called paramedics after carrying out the 'glass test', where a glass is applied to the rash to see if it disappears under pressure.

Jenny said: "They acted immediately. They took one look at her and pumped antibiotics into her straight away. A doctor later told me if they hadn't done that, my little girl would not have survived."

As they arrived at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital they were met by a group of medics. Jenny said: "At one point she had multiple organ failure, she was on kidney dialysis and they were just pumping her full of antibiotics. For about three to four days it looked as though she was not going to make it. But my Charlotte is a very determined little girl, and she wasn't going to give up without a fight."

In intensive care doctors battled to stop the disease from spreading, but after five days her fingers and toes had turned black. She had gangrene brought on by septicaemia, and as the days wore on, it became clear both her arms and legs would need to be amputated.

Stroking her hair

On January 4, Charlotte went into the operating theatre and doctors managed to save her elbow and knee joints.

Jenny added: "For about four days it looked as though Charlotte might not make it. I just sat by her bed in the hospital, stroking her hair, and telling her 'Mummy loves you, daddy loves you, George loves you' over and over again. If she was going to die I wanted her to die knowing how loved she was and that we all adored her."

Dad Alex, a self-employed refrigeration and air conditioning installer, has given up work to look after Charlotte as she needs 24-hour care. Her bandages need to be changed every day and disinfectant cream rubbed into her wounds.

Charlotte's family have received help and support from Meningitis Now and have attended Family Days.