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Paul G's Story

15th June 2024

Paul, from Swindon, lost his daughter Izzy to meningitis in 2016. Since then he has been an advocate for raising awareness through taking part in fundraising challenges. He is currently preparing to walk 100km in one go as part of the Cotswold Way Ultra Challenge on the 22nd of June. He shares his story here.

Paul G's Story

“I imagine Izzy, my daughter, sitting on my shoulder and saying ‘Come on, Dad. You can do it.”

“My daughter, Izzy contracted men-B in May 2016 while she was at college. It was when she was studying for her exams and we thought she was just tired and had a headache.

“Within 48 hours she fell into a coma and never pulled out of it. She was on a life support machine for three days but even on the first day, we already knew that she wasn't going to recover. She passed on the 20th of May 2016.

“She would want us to tell her story and raise awareness so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Fundraising for Meningitis Now

“Since 2016, I have done quite a few challenges and things to raise funds for Meningitis Now and awareness of meningitis and the signs and symptoms.

“I’ve entered Ultra Challenges, 100k walks, the London Marathon, the Five Valleys Walk. I’ve done the Three Peaks Challenge three times with Meningitis Now. And now I’m taking part in the Cotswold Way Ultra Challenge on the 22nd of June.

“The Cotswold Way Ultra Challenge is 100km long, which is a around 62 miles in one go. These events normally have up to 2000 people in total, but that ranges from people doing 25k to the full 100k and normally only around 5 to 600 people do the full 100k.

“Some who do the full 100k camp overnight at the halfway point but it normally takes me between 26 and 28 hours walking non-stop. So I spend three or four hours walking through the night as well.

“But the staff encourage you and during the night section they prefer if you don't walk on your own. So you are normally with people anyway so you just get that extra drive.

“I've also done the stretches where I've been walking for about an hour or so on my own in the night. But you have to just keep pushing yourself.

The support so far

“I imagine Izzy, my daughter, sitting on my shoulder and saying ‘Come on, Dad. You can do it.”

“I do these challenges wearing a Meningitis Now T-shirt, and chat to people because when they ask what charity I’m fundraising for. It's a good way of raising awareness.

“For this challenge I offered to wear a backpack cover with ribbons dedicated to people’s loved ones for a small donation. I've had about five responses with requests for ribbons so far, so that's been quite good.

“I’ve also had other donations too. I think it's just gone over the £200 mark and some of them have put Gift Aid on it as well. But obviously I'll be pushing it leading up to the event anyway.

“The challenge is only a couple of weeks away so I'll probably do a full final run through it next week.

Take two on the Cotswold Way Challenge

“I actually did it last year, but I pulled out halfway because it was it was really hot.

“And I think what happened there is that there’s a lot of mental preparation, but you've got to get your nutrition and your fluids right as well.

“You need to hydrate but you don't want to over hydrate because it can have an adverse effect just as much as being dehydrated.

“I know where I went wrong and I've done a couple of things to balance it out, and how to sort of compensate for the additional heat. Because you have to carry specific kit with you including at least two litres of fluid. And even if it's baking hot, you still have to carry wet weather gear. You need a head torch for night and a First Aid kit.

“All the stop points on the route they've got medics there and physios so if you do have any issues with this, you can get treated straight away.

“But I quite enjoy it because you are out and abound. This event is quite pertinent really, because it goes through Stroud so it’s local. It's quite demanding because there's a lot of hills involved and then it sort of flattens out a bit towards the end.

“Normally when I finish I make my way home, have a shower and have something to eat and go to bed – then probably sleep for a day.

“I'm more confident this time because I'm more aware of the route and what went wrong last time.”

If you’d like to support Paul’s incredible fundraising efforts please visit his fundraising page. And to find out more about fundraising for Meningitis Now, you can have a look at events, opportunities and other ways you can get involved on our website or get in touch with our Fundraising team on fundraising@meningitisnow.org.