“I contracted meningitis at 20-months-old. My parents were told I had flu as not so much was known about the disease back in 1980.
“Eventually through the persistence of my parents, I was admitted to hospital and it was discovered I had meningitis. Doctors and nurses at Crawley Hospital worked tirelessly to save my life, which by now was in a very bad way.
“My head was shaved and a drip inserted and I was treated as well as they could. My parents were warned that if I lived, and it was a big ‘if’, I would certainly suffer one of the following consequences of the disease: blindness, brain damage, loss of one or more limbs.
Rushed to say goodbye
“One night my parents received a phone call from the doctor saying they must come to the hospital immediately, as I wasn’t going to survive the night. They rushed up and were told to say goodbye.
“My parents cannot relay this part of the story without crying these 38 years later. I cannot imagine the pain and torture this must have caused them. Now I have my own children and I just cannot imagine what they went through during that dark period.
“For whatever reason they were not allowed to stay with me at the hospital and they had to walk away from their dying baby, who apparently was calling out to them. They went home and summoned all the faith they had and just prayed that somehow God would intervene and help the doctors save my life. A long night ensued.
A miracle has happened
“Early the next morning they received another call and they braced themselves for the worst. The doctor said ‘you’d better get up here quickly, a miracle has happened!’
“When they arrived at the hospital they saw me, standing in my cot, drinking tea and jumping about! The doctor actually wrote on my medical notes ‘miracle baby’ as overnight I had recovered 100%. I was left totally healthy, no awful consequence of the illness and was able to return home soon afterwards. I’m aware that not everyone’s story has a happy ending like mine and that’s why I wanted to do something to raise money for Meningitis Now by doing a 16 mile hike on the South Downs.
“I’m so utterly grateful for the expertise of my doctor and nurses and to God for sparing my life. I am blessed to be here to tell the tale and will continue to support Meningitis Now as they work tirelessly to eradicate this hideous disease and provide care and support for those going through the disease and care for them afterwards.