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Ruby's story

11th February 2015

Little Ruby Burrell was just 21 months old when she was struck down by meningitis and died within hours of showing any symptoms

Ruby's story

Her parents Mark and Helen recalled how Ruby had been perfectly well in the morning, swimming and playing with her older sister Millie.

She spent the afternoon watching her favourite Peppa Pig DVD and her parents noticed she was developing a temperature.

Mark explained, "Initially we thought she was just teething. There were no other symptoms to worry us. Then we spotted a little bruise on her arm which was like a little pinch. We've since been told that this was the start of septicaemia – the blood poisoning caused by meningitis.

Ruby was then sick and we noticed another small bruise had appeared so Helen called the hospital. While she was on the phone I noticed a rash begin to appear so we rushed her to Weston General."

The septicaemia was so aggressive that the rash covered Ruby's stomach in no time. Medical staff treated her with antibiotics straightaway and a team came down from Bristol to help get her ready to be transferred.

Mark said, "They got her stable and a car was waiting outside. Then, all of a sudden, she was gone.

It was so hard to comprehend that this devastating disease had taken her precious life in a matter of hours."

Cheeky smiles and giggles

"Ruby was such a happy child, full of cheeky smiles and giggles. She truly touched the hearts of everyone who knew her.

We know there was nothing more that we or the doctors could have done, which is why a vaccine is the only way to safeguard lives in the future."

Ruby died from the group B strain of meningococcal septicaemia, which occurs when meningococcal bacteria enter the blood strain and multiply uncontrollably, poisoning the blood and completely overwhelming the immune system damaging the blood vessels, tissues and organs.

Mark and Helen say they've been touched by everyone's support and hope their efforts will help to save thousands of lives in the future.