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Harry & Ben's Story

26th May 2024

Ben Williams is one of our Business Ambassadors and CEO of John F Hunt Regeneration. He lost his son, Harry, to pneumococcal meningitis on 22 February 2015 – just a few months short of his ninth birthday.

Harry & Ben's Story

Ben and his family were supported by Meningitis Now after Harry’s death and have since taken part in a number of incredible fundraising activities to spread awareness and to support other people who have been affected by meningitis.

These have included golf days run by Ben and John F Hunt Regeneration, and marathons run by Ben’s family, friends and colleagues. The money they raise is attributed to Harry’s Forever Fund, which has raised almost £167,000.

As we approach what would have been Harry’s eighteenth birthday, Ben wanted to share his story with us.

An example of how fast meningitis can take hold

“Harry’s story is an example of how fast meningitis can affect a vibrant young life without any prior warning. Fairly vague symptoms and a misdiagnosis sadly led to his death. And that's why we're very keen to promote awareness around meningitis and the good medical research which has progressed very significantly since 2015.

Invaluable support

“Meningitis Now was extremely supportive in those very early days after Harry’s death.

“There was a direct contact made and visits from the Community Support Team and that support was invaluable, not only to us as parents but also to our children. So, we're forever grateful for all the action that was taken.

“When a child dies, the sad truth is that there isn't much of a support network in terms of the NHS, and a lot of support is dependent upon charitable work and charitable donations.

“We as a family don’t want anyone else to suffer that same sense of loss and sadness, so we want to help motivate others and help contribute to the efforts of Meningitis Now.

“Friends, colleagues and wider associates have been willing to help support the cause. That’s taken the form of everything from running marathons to golf days and a football match.

A moment of quiet reflection

“As a family we will be approaching Harry’s birthday as a moment of quiet reflection on what could and should have been ours and his future. And I think that for me, one of the great things that Meningitis Now does is spread awareness of the disease.

“Anything which can prevent other people's families and friends suffering such a loss is a very good thing.

“When you when you suffer any loss, but particularly the loss of a child, there's so much that goes on with that situation. Meningitis Now is a charity that understands that and helps in a very difficult situation.

“The charity does such important work in terms of awareness and research to prevent and improve outcomes of meningitis. One day hopefully meningitis will be eradicated. And whilst you wish that your own child had been saved, you just don't want anyone else to go through it.”