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Leon's story

19th July 2020

5-year-old Leon didn’t feel well when he went to school one morning in November 2018, and it wasn’t long before mum Arlene was asked to collect him as he had been sick

Leon's story

As the day went by, Leon became more unwell – lethargic with sore legs and head and a grey tinge to his skin. Arlene, from Glasgow, tells their story.

“I remember the day very clearly. It was a Monday morning and Leon woke up complaining of not feeling great - I just thought it was a Monday morning feeling and got him up, dressed and off to school as normal.

“Around 11am I received a phone call from the school to say Leon had been sick and could he be collected; upon arriving I knew just by his looks he was not well at all. He was complaining of sore legs walking to the car so I got him home and on the couch to rest. I felt uneasy so telephoned the GP for a last minute appointment just to get him checked over.

“At the GP they said they thought it was just the tail end of a previous virus or the beginning of another, and that I should just continue with pain relief medication and monitor him at home. As soon as we got home Leon slept on the couch - he was difficult to keep awake but I just kept checking on him. As a mum I just felt something was not right and as always I lifted his pyjama top to check how hot he was and I noticed a small purple mark beside his tummy button. It was smaller than a 5 pence piece but I decided to phone NHS out of hours just for advice. They said due to his symptoms they would have to send an ambulance.

Covered from head to toe

“The ambulance arrived and my mum decided she would go to hospital with Leon and I would follow by car however I sat outside the motionless ambulance for around 15 minutes then the paramedic came out to bring me into the ambulance to just see what was going on. Before my very eyes I could see that at least three more purple spots had appeared on Leon; they said it was now an emergency and they would be going to the children’s hospital with blue lights.

“We both raced to the hospital and on arrival Leon was covered from head to toe in the purple septicaemia rash. It honestly develops and takes over the body before your very eyes. Leon was admitted straight to resus and intensive care, where the care he received was one to one and more than I could ever have wished for.

“It took a while for the medication to help take control of what was happening to his body. The doctors did say that my quick thinking and gut instinct saved his life; that is a message I want to send across to all parents out there. Leon was given round the clock care and although the septicaemia spread very rapidly to both his arms and legs he was extremely lucky and his limbs where saved.

A true warrior

“After a long two-week stay in hospital Leon walked out of those hospital doors smiling like a true warrior. I am forever proud and grateful that I didn’t lose my precious boy and that, apart from a small bowel issue and some ASD, we have no long-term after-effects from the meningococcal MenB and septicaemia.

“Leon is now an aspiring dancer and is more determined than ever to succeed.”