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Kate's story

21st December 2006

It was four days before Christmas in 2006 when Kate began to feel ill but she passed the tiredness and headache off as the early stages of flu

Kate's story

The youngster was struck down by meningitis as she desperately crammed for her A-level exams and says she could have died had her mum Theresa not been alert to the symptoms of the devastating brain bug.

Kate said: “Mum came home and was concerned because I started vomiting. Apparently I had a bucket in one hand and a book in the other. Then mum noticed a rash and did the tumbler test. The redness didn’t fade when she pressed the glass down so she decided to get me to hospital as quickly as possible.

Even then I was saying not to worry and that I would be fine.”

Doctors carried out a lumbar puncture but tests came back negative and Kate was told she could go home. But mum Theresa trusted her instincts and insisted Kate, then 18, was kept in overnight. Just two hours later Kate slumped down in the bed. The bug had hit her brain and doctors feared she had suffered a stroke.

All so sudden

She added: “It was all so sudden. I don’t remember any of it but apparently my jaw locked and my body wouldn’t move. My family even called the priest down to the hospital because they thought I wouldn’t make it.

I was pumped full of antibiotics and thankfully started to pull through but even then the doctors thought I might be brain damaged.”

Their fears weren’t realised and Kate gradually got better and was able to leave hospital a month later, after physiotherapy helped to build up her strength enough to walk. Kate, who is in her first year studying law at Leeds University, says she was initially devastated to miss her exams but now realises just how lucky she was to be left with no after-effects from the disease.

A big shock

“The whole experience was a big shock and I’m so grateful to be okay now, especially as many others aren’t so lucky. I’ve tried to turn it into a positive and if anything it’s made me chill out and enjoy life more,” she added.

Kate managed to taker her exams at a later date and achieved three A grades, gaining her a place at Leeds University, where she’s now a RAG rep and has been fundraising for Meningitis Now.