Jessica M's story

23rd February 2015

Kelly Crisp and Warren Morgan, from Hertfordhire, have been dedicated to fundraising after the devastating brain bug killed their two-year-old daughter Jessica in 2005

Jessica-M

They tell their heartbreaking story and are making renewed calls for the public's support to help find a vaccine to prevent needless deaths in the future.

Since Jessica's sudden death, family and friends have organised their own events as a way of celebrating the toddler's life and have raised over £10,000. Kelly, 31, said she never dreamt they would raise such a large amount of money in memory of Jessica. She said: "When I found out we'd hit £10,000 I couldn't believe it. We don't really think about the money, we do it to raise awareness.

Sad that it takes for you to lose someone

"I never thought we would achieve this. It's sad that it takes for you to lose someone before you think of doing something for charity. Jessica's death has really driven me to put my heart and soul into Meningitis Now and raising as much awareness and money as possible."

Kelly recalled how Jessica initially became lethargic, was pale and sleepy and not taking her milk. Knowing something was wrong, Kelly took her to the doctor who said Jessica had a gastric infection and sent her home.

The next day they took Jessica to hospital because a pin-prick rash began to develop on her chest. Kelly said: "I now know she had all the symptoms of meningitis that day - including feet that were so cold they went blue.

"She was hot and sleepy and the rash had spread all over her body. The doctors said it was gastroenteritis and sent us home. She was so much worse in the morning and we lost her within a few minutes of reaching the hospital. I never expected anything like that to happen to my little girl."

Tests confirmed Jessica died from meningococcal septicaemia, a dangerous form of Meningitis B which occurs when meningococcal bacteria enter the blood stream and multiply uncontrollably, poisoning the blood and completely overwhelming the immune system.

Tirelessly trying to educate people

Kelly said she didn't know what meningitis was at the time and has tirelessly tried to educate people. She especially wants to point out that the rash is one of the last symptoms to emerge and the disease has often reached critical point by this stage.

Kelly and Warren's ultimate goal would be to see a vaccine found for Meningitis B. It accounts for 90 per cent of all cases of the brain bug in the UK and can kill in hours.

Kelly added: "The sole object of raising the money is to find a vaccine. Although awareness is crucial, if a vaccine can be found then everyone will be protected.

"It's encouraging to hear that advances are being made. I would be proud and pleased to think that we've played a part in preventing families going through what we have."

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