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Max W’s story

7th March 2024

Sophie and David had taken their three-year-old, Max on a family holiday to Majorca when he became difficult to rouse. They rushed him to hospital where he was diagnosed and treated for bacterial meningitis. Sophie recounts the experience.

Max's story

“We translated a lot of information given to us via Google Translate which was really difficult but we could not fault the help and support they gave us. We will never forget how they saved our boy."

“Max finished nursery the day before we were due to go on holiday. Later that evening he was sick through the night and said he felt unwell with leg pain. He had been a little snotty for a few days before this and we assumed he had caught a sickness bug from nursery.

“We woke up the next morning and he seemed brighter, so we assumed that was the end of the bug and we were all looking forward to our holiday. We got to the airport and he seemed a little out of sorts but felt it was due to him being tired. He ate some sweets and breakfast and was drinking well so we were hopeful that this was the end of the bug.

Difficult to rouse

“We got on the plane and he had a nap on me and then woke up and was sick over me and him. At this point he was very tired and needed carrying around the airport once we got to Majorca. We got on our transfer and he felt very hot and difficult to rouse.

“An hour later we got to our hotel and I called the doctor at the resort to check on him. He wouldn’t wake easily and was difficult to offer medicine due to this. The doctor asked us to go to a local private hospital.

“By the time we got to hospital Max was lifeless in my arms, grey in colour with blue lips and he had developed a rash over his legs. I ran into the hospital asking for help and a doctor came out to see us and immediately took him away.

Non-blanching rash

“Me and my husband, waited outside whilst they explored the reasons for what was happening, and they said it was likely dehydration. When they received the blood work they said to us, “ugly bloods” and little else in English. Due to the language barrier, we had no idea what this meant for Max.

“They treated him for sepsis and a blood clot and then transported us via ambulance to the main hospital on the island. I noticed the non-blanching rash at this point which wasn’t significant in size but worth telling the doctor about.

Lumbar puncture

“We waited in the family room whilst they performed a lumbar puncture and stabilised him. An hour or so later we were told he had bacterial meningitis but were unsure of what strain.

“At this point we didn’t care what strain this was – we just prayed that he would survive something unimaginable and so unexpected.

“The hospital was an hour away from the accommodation we were staying in, so they allowed us to stay in the family room whilst they helped Max and we waited to be able to see him. When we went into his room he was still sedated.

Back to his cheeky self

“We translated a lot of information given to us via Google Translate which was really difficult but we could not fault the help and support they gave us. We will never forget how they saved our boy.

“He woke up a few hours later and gave us the cheekiest smile (as he does) and we knew he was back with us. A couple of days later after lots of medication and invasive treatment he was back to his full cheeky self and we are so grateful that he came out of this awful experience unscathed. For that we will be forever grateful.

“He continues to get checked regularly and we still see some trauma related to his experience, but we will be forever grateful that he and we were the lucky ones.”


Sophie previously shared her story for our Turtle Tots 2023 campaign and fundraised for us through a bake sale which raised £141.50.

She continues to advocate for parents to know the signs and urges parents to trust their instincts and get help when something isn’t right.