Meet twins Seth and Reece.
Seth and Reece, now aged 7, are two of the young people helping us relaunch our Toddle Waddle this year. Here mum Dawn tells us her meningitis story and how Meningitis Now has been able to support her and her family.
“Having a twin pregnancy was a big shock to us and many times through it I always asked what will I do if one twin isn’t well. The answer I arrived at was to go to your sickest child first."
“However, on 31 May 2010, I had two healthy little boys delivered by emergency section. All was well and life for the next three weeks was a blur of nappies, feeds and a lively three-year-old all playing for our attention."
“My husband Marty was away with work at the time but I knew something just wasn’t quite right. Never in a month of Sundays though did I suspect meningitis - it was a rash that didn’t go away right? Wrong!"
A bit off colour
“Both the twins were off form, a bit off colour, not feeding great and to top it all we got told it was constipation and they would settle."
“This went on for two days and two trips to the out of hours and A&E before a trip in a blue light ambulance down the road on the longest journey ever!"
“Numerous tests and interventions were put in place, only to be told two days later that both boys had a form of meningitis."
Willing them to survive
“I can’t begin to tell you exactly what went through our heads as we were running between the twins, one in PICU and one on the ward, willing them both to survive."
“Fast forward to where we are now, almost eight years later, and it still has an impact on our lives. Our eldest son fought abandonment issues while the twins were sick in hospital alongside jealousy at all the extra attention the twins were getting. He was only 3 after all, but I’m glad to say he has overcome these and is a fantastic big brother now."
“The twins, although so alike, have so many differences now all because of meningitis. It robbed us of a ‘normal’ (I use that phrase lightly) set of twin boys, having each other’s back and a friend for life."
“Seth thankfully has had no complications and has made a full recovery from meningitis. He has adapted a caring role for his twin, regardless of the differences that will never change between the boys."
“Reece has been left severely brain damaged, blind, epileptic and has a host of other complications that have unfortunately left him as a life-limited child."
“As horrible an illness as it is I hope our story shows that there are so many different outcomes. Our boys are living proof of that.”
The family has been along to our family fun days. Seth doesn’t really remember his meningitis ("Is that what almost killed us as babies?" he asks). But he does remember the Family Days he attended. “I did enjoy the bouncing and pizza,” he says.
"Sadly, Reece doesn’t have any understanding of what is going on at the Family Days, but he can usually be seen smiling away or giving hugs while the boys are having a ball", Dawn says.
Seth and Reece are shown cuddling a teddy and go karting in the pack because Reece is happiest out and about in his wheelchair or playing with his friend mouse the teddy bear, giving him cuddles and seeing if he can fly, while Seth loves to be outdoors, running about or on his go kart.
Help us support Seth and Reece and those like them by holding a Toddle Waddle this year. They’re easy to organise and fun to participate in.