Louie is one of the young people helping us relaunch our Toddle Waddle this year. Here his mum Julie tells us his meningitis story and how Meningitis Now has been able to support her and her family.
“Louie was five months old when he contracted meningococcal septicaemia. He had gone to bed as normal and woke up a few hours later at about 10pm and was generally grizzly and fussing.
“Throughout the course of the night he was sick and had a few loose nappies but took a feed about 12pm, so I thought it might have just been a tummy bug with a temperature.
“I gave him some Calpol and stripped him off to cool him down and then at about 2am I turned on the light to change his nappy. I noticed two spots on his chest and when I pushed them they did not blanch at all.
Went grey and floppy
“Within a minute of finding these spots he went grey and floppy and I called an ambulance. By the time this arrived at hospital the rash had spread all over his body.
“Louie spent a total of 11 weeks in hospital, two in intensive care.
“He had both of his legs amputated below the knees and also the fingers on his left hand and fingertips on his right."
“Louie now wears prosthetic legs as well as using his wheelchair and has regular check-ups with many different medical professionals on a regular basis."
Legs stopped growing
“Since his first amputations Louie has had to have two corrective procedures on his legs due to them not growing straight and now the damage to his growth plates has been so severe that his legs have actually stopped growing.
“Meningitis Now has been an amazing support to our family, providing us with financial grants, counselling, family information and fun days, and an excellent connection to other agencies who have been able to offer their expertise and help over the years.
But for Louie it’s all about the fun and friendship we can bring. As he says, “Meningitis Now helps me make friends who are just like me.
Louie is pictured at the seaside in the pack because, mum Julie explains, “When he was younger he had skin-coloured prosthetics and we always giggled at the beach about turning them upside down in the sand and looking like he was buried.
Help us support Louie and those like him by holding a Toddle Waddle this year. They’re easy to organise and fun to participate in.