George Z's story

25th September 2017

On Thursday 10th of August George left for the Boardmasters festival in Cornwall. That evening George was being sick and felt unwell.

George3

On the morning of Friday 11th August George woke up and had severe limb pain in his legs, particularly his left leg. He was unable to bare weight on his leg, and he had cramps. He was taken to the festival's medical tent.

George had a mottled, bruised, non-raised rash that looked like a tribal sign horizontal across his left foot. After a number of tests were done, the conclusion was drawn that George might have a stress fracture on his ankle, and was suffering from dehydration. 

His heart rate was triple his normal level, at 100 bpm and there were no other symptoms.

George was then moved to the ‘wellbeing tent’, where he became confused and agitated and was unable to lie on the bed, instead being given a space on the floor with pillows.

Rushed to hospital

 It was here that George went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated by staff, but remained unconscious.

He was rushed to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. George then remained on life support and took his final breathes on Wednesday August 16th at 13.34 all by himself, without the machine.

The three of us were there; Mum, Dad and I, holding his hand. My mum was in the bed with him whilst our closest magical friends and family were not too far away.

A conveyor belt of people who loved George had been coming in and out to see him, talking to him. I didn't realise until now how kind he was to others and so supportive to all his friends.

I felt like I had been floating, looking down on myself. I felt like I had been living someone else’s life. How was I reading public health statements and news articles about my little Brother? How is my George, a fatal meningococcal B statistic now?

We were at the hospital for five days, living through waves of utter despair and devastation, mixed with laughing and sharing huge waves of love and memories.

Moments of hope and darkness

There were moments of hope, and moments of complete darkness. I looked around me and saw people from all walks of life - many strangers before this; flooding in, holding hands, hugging and helping each other. Bringing us up when we lost the floor from beneath us.

It’s been a real domino effect - a ripple of grief. Over those five days in hospital I saw the most incredibly beautiful and traumatic, harrowing things - all at the same time.

I have seen the best in so many people through utter darkness. Let's treat each other like this more, not just when loss brings us all together.

I truly hope that no one ever has to experience this utter true life tragedy, watching tubes being removed until your loved one passes away. To say it has been crippling is not enough.

My future is now completely blank and terrifying. There were certainties that are no longer certain. I have no idea how this story goes now. The story of my life without George.

  • Tess

    Tess's story

    Then I saw the 'RIP' messages. It was a massive shock which broke my heart

  • Sarah

    Sarah's story

    I looked at the meningitis website for the symptoms. I still don't know why I did that - just something told me to do it

  • Gillian

    Gillian's story

    we have had to learn to cope with life without Gillian and our eagerly awaited Grace

  • Saleem

    Saleem's story

    Saleem just thought he was hungover