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Kirsty and Julie's story

8th March 2019

Kirsty had recently lost her grandma when her mother, Julie, 49, became ill. She was admitted to hospital and found to have pneumococcal meningitis, from which she sadly never recovered

Kirsty and Julie's story

Twenty-five-year-old Kirsty, from Hull, recalls the sad events of February 2018 here.

“My grandma had passed away on 13 February 2018. This was unfortunately expected, so the month of February was very exhausting, very emotional and it really hit my mum hard.

“Soon after Grandma's passing, Mum was complaining of having a cold and was going hot and cold all of the time. Nothing more was read into this, but it gradually got worse and I remember her clearly complaining of a stiff neck but blaming it on the fact that she 'must have slept funny'. Again, nothing more was read into this.

Increasingly confused

“On the morning of 20 February the family got together to discuss Grandma's funeral. However, I was noticing that Mum was getting increasingly confused, which caused her to be really frustrated. I noticed her body movements were very slow and her coordination was deteriorating.

“I called 111 for advice. I wasn't alarmed at this stage. I thought it may be dehydration or not looking after herself properly since the passing of Grandma.

“I remember the ambulance coming and being sat in A&E. They were trying to rule out a stroke.

Seizures started

“This is when the seizures started. I went home in the early hours that morning after waiting in A&E, to wake up to a call advising that Mum was struggling to breathe on her own and she needed to be induced into a coma and put onto a machine.

“I remember sitting in the family waiting room for hours and hours waiting for a relief from this nightmare. The doctors told me that the tests showed that there was a brain infection and more investigation was needed.

“The next communication was that the infection might be so bad that the brain could be so damaged that there may be no brain activity and that she may have passed away. They would need a day and night’s close observation and a lot of tests for this to be proved.

“I learned that the infection was actually pneumococcal meningitis.

Worst nightmare came true

“The next day, my worst nightmare came true when I was told there was no brain activity and they used the term 'brain dead'. I was told that the meningitis had been slowly attacking Mum’s brain and affecting her bodily functions, which is why she had the cold, stiff joints, stiff neck and confusion. Everything made perfect sense and I remember the overwhelming feeling of numbness run through me.

“An hour after this news, I went through the process of agreeing for Mum's organs to be used for donation, which saved three people’s lives. This is the only comfort I get from this horrible life changing tragedy.

“I never knew the symptoms of meningitis. I certainly wish I’d known them in February last year.

“Funding for research is vital, funding for awareness is vital, anything to prevent another family from feeling this pain. At the age of 25 I have lost my mum, my best friend, my biggest critic, my biggest fan. If I have children they will never meet their grandma.”