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Jackson's story

26th May 2015

At just seven weeks old and only days since he had given his first smile, Jackson Griffiths contracted pneumococcal meningitis

Jackson's story

Jackson fought with every inch of his being but, unfortunately, Jackson’s story doesn’t have a happy ending and he passed away in December 2009.

His mother, Sarah Griffiths, recalls his battle against meningitis throughout his short life.

“We first noticed that something wasn't quite right with Jackson when he started refusing his feeds and became irritable. As it was a Sunday we phoned the out-of-hours doctor and made an appointment with the GP straight away.

The GP thought Jackson was showing signs of constipation so sent us home with some laxatives but he was sick during the night and the next day he still hadn't improved.

We took him to our GP first thing in the morning and it was here that I first noticed that Jackson had a bulging fontanelle. I wish I’d known at the time that this is a symptom of meningitis in babies.

However, the GP was concerned and we were told to take him straight to hospital but there was no mention of meningitis."

Every parent’s worst nightmare

“The following few hours at the hospital were awful and the next thing I can remember was Jackson being rushed to intensive care where they did a lumbar puncture . This later confirmed he had bacterial meningitis.

They started him on antibiotics before the results came back. We were allowed to see him for five minutes before he was blue lighted in an ambulance to the University Children’s Hospital of Wales. We were told to be prepared for the worst.

I remember thinking over and over that this couldn't be happening. Every parent’s worst nightmare was happening to us. How could our little seven week old baby who had only taken his first smiles earlier that week become so ill so fast?

The next few days and weeks were a blur. Jackson spent three days in intensive care before he was transferred to the high dependency unit and finally onto the children’s ward. He spent 10 weeks in hospital altogether.

During these 10 weeks we lost count of the number of lumbar punctures, scans and different lots of medication he received. He also had to have surgery to have a Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt put in place to help drain the fluid from his brain that kept building up.

I remember the day we were finally allowed to bring him home. It was Good Friday (Easter 2009)."

The nightmare wasn’t over

“Even though Jackson was finally home from hospital, the nightmare wasn't over.

Jackson had severe brain damage as a result of meningitis and was on medication to control his seizures. He couldn't feed properly and had to be fed by a nasogastric tube. We were also told his eyesight and hearing had been affected by the disease.

A hearing test later confirmed that Jackson could hear in his right ear which, after all the bad news we’d received, made us so happy!"

The fight was just too much

“When I went into Jackson's bedroom on the morning of December 6th 2009, he had stopped breathing. We phoned for an ambulance straight away but our little man was just too tired to carry on with the fight.

He left us two weeks before his first birthday and Christmas. It was later confirmed that Jackson had passed away as a result of the severe brain damage caused by meningitis and also pneumonia.

Meningitis Now has been an amazing support to us over the past six years, providing us with a grant for a headstone for Jackson which has given us so much comfort. They have also provided me with counselling sessions which have helped me come to terms with what we went through as a family and Jackson’s death.

Time hasn't made the past six years easier, but we are so grateful for the nine months we got to spend with Jackson after he contracted meningitis as we so nearly lost him when he was seven weeks old.

We're so thankful to Meningitis Now for all their help and support to us over the years, we will be forever grateful!”