Angela from Staffordshire tells her family's story:
“We had been up all night with our son Ashton who was six months old at the time. He had a temperature and what we thought were the symptoms of a cold. My husband and I took turns comforting him, but he was crying continuously, had a temperature and was very clingy. It seemed to upset him more to be lying flat, so we propped him up with cushions, we had no idea why this was at the time.
“When he finally fell asleep at about 6am we were relieved. I placed him in his cot and came downstairs for a well earned cuppa, but for some reason I had to have one final check on him. I just knew something just wasn’t right. Call it a mother’s instinct.
“I noticed he was grey and very still. I stroked the top of his head and found that the soft spot on his scalp was swollen. I googled this and it said to get urgent medical help.
Rushed to hospital
“We called the out of hours GP who told us to bring him into the clinic. As soon as the doctor checked him he told us to take him straight to the children’s ward in the hospital. Within 20 minutes of reaching the hospital he was in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. They struggled to get fluid in him and at one point the only vein they could find was on his scalp.
“The next two weeks were the most frightening of my life. Ashton seemed to have endless medication, scans and blood tests and we found out he had pneumococcal meningitis. He had to go to theatre after few days as the vein in his scalp had collapsed. They found another deep in his throat, and from that point onwards his condition began to improve.
“Just as we thought he was beginning to recover he had a massive seizure and he had to be sedated, setting back the progress he had made.
Beginning to recover
“We were so relieved that just a day later he was awake and hungry. He loved the hospital rice pudding and so did his dad!
“When he finally was allowed to come home life was scary. I was so worried about him all of the time and looking back, I’m not sure how we coped.
“It’s taken quite a few years to learn how the disease has affected Ashton.
“He is now nine years old and a happy, lively boy. The disease has left him with single sided deafness and he didn’t speak until he was six years old, but after some intensive speech and language support, he is now no different than any other child.
“He also has some anxiety, which affects his confidence, and what clothes he wears and sensitivity to smells and sounds.
“Every day we count our blessings that Ashton is here and well, things could have been so much worse. Ashton is our miracle and we enjoy every day with him.”