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Sarah and Lois’s stories

18th March 2016

Meningitis has struck Helen’s family twice – once with devastating consequences when it took her sister Sarah’s life and then again last year when her baby daughter Lois contracted viral meningitis at just eight days old

Sarah and Lois’s stories

Helen, from Middleton in Greater Manchester, tells their story here.

“My sister Sarah Oddie was 18 and training to be a nurse at Salford University.

“On 15th January 1999 she woke up very unwell. As we got her out of bed a rash appeared on her arm. Meningitis symptoms weren't well known about at this time but we knew something was terribly wrong. Sarah had had flu like symptoms for a few days before.

“My grandad was outside, so he raced us to the hospital. We went straight through A & E. Even at this point the doctors weren't clear what was wrong.

“She was taken up to infectious diseases and we were told to contact my dad and brother and ask them to come to the hospital. Sarah had meningococcal septicaemia strain B.

“Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done to save her and she died that same morning.

Devastated our lives

“From waking up to coming back to the house without her was around four hours. It has devastated our lives and we still think about her and talk about her 17 years on.

“There were hundreds at her funeral. She was a lovely, happy, funny and beautiful daughter, sister and friend with her whole life ahead of her.

“Last year my daughter Lois suffered viral meningitis at eight days old and was in hospital for 10 days. She had to be treated as having bacterial meningitis as it was over a bank holiday and the lab results took longer.

“This was a very scary time but made all the worse because of what had happened to Sarah.

Sarah and Lois’s stories

Hitting her milestones

“Lois is hitting all her milestones and is a happy healthy little girl. She has had one dose of the MenB vaccine, as she was due her 16 week injections on the day the MenB vaccine was rolled out.

“Even though my sister had died and she herself had already had meningitis she wasn't allowed the first dose as she was too old and they would not make an exception. She will therefore only have one dose of the vaccine and the booster when she is one in a few months’ time.

“My son is on a waiting list to have it done privately. My sister was 18; this is not just a childhood disease!”