Lisa R's story

11th February 2015

Linda Richardson had been out Christmas shopping with her daughter Lisa. The next day the teenager fell ill with meningitis

LisaR

"The day before Lisa became ill we were at the Metro Centre in Gateshead, doing some Christmas shopping. Lisa wanted to get three presents, one for me, one for her dad and one for her brother Mark and a birthday present for her boyfriend Alister. She was excited about going around the shops she loved to buy things for other people. We had a brilliant day, but little did I know it would be the last time we were ever going to do it.

"After we got home Lisa started to get ready to meet Alister - they made a lovely couple. The next day Lisa went to work - she worked at ASDA in the Metro Centre as a checkout operator. She finished work at 6pm and called at the local shop on her way home where she had a chat with her dad's cousin Julie. Then it was off to see Alister again. This time she took her brother Mark with her although he did not really want to go as he is quite shy, but she pestered him so much that he decided to go. It was 9pm when the phone rang. It was Mark to say that Lisa was not feeling very well and could we go to Alister's house to pick them up."

Feeling unwell

"When we got there Lisa was lying down. She said she was cold and had a headache, but when I felt her brow she was very hot. We put her in the car and she started to vomit so we took her to casualty. They gave her something to bring her temperature down, they thought it was a viral infection and gave her some antibiotics. She came home and went to bed.

"The next morning she was unable to stand up, she was still being sick and she had diarrhoea so we called the doctor who said to take her back to the hospital. I brought her downstairs and was just putting my shoes on and her dad was getting the car, when Lisa collapsed in the hallway. Her dad called an ambulance and they came in minutes. By then a rash was developing around her mouth. Then I heard the paramedics say they could not find a pulse.

"They put Lisa in the ambulance and told me to sit in the front next to the driver and took us to the hospital. Her dad followed behind in the car."

Taken to hospital

"When we arrived Lisa was taken to the Emergency Room and we were shown to the relatives room. A nurse said Lisa was very poorly and she would keep us informed and that they were doing all they could.

"It was an hour later when the nurse and a doctor came back to see us and I could see by the look on their faces that it was not good news. They said that they were so sorry but Lisa had died of meningococcal septicaemia. I remember crying "no, not my baby". Her dad and I just hugged and cried, we could not believe she was gone. Then we had to tell the rest of the family that she was dead. It was the hardest thing we have had to do. Her brothers Mark and David were devastated, we could not see a future without her, we cried like we were never going to stop. Our hearts were broken, life was never going to be the same again for us, our family is broken.

"You never think it is going to happen to you but it goes to show that it can happen to anybody."

Support from Steve

"When Steve Dayman read Lisa's story he sent the most moving letter offering his support, which helped us through a very difficult time. He put us in touch with a couple who had suffered the same tragedy as us. They have been a great support and we have become good friends.

"We have been fundraising since Lisa's death and we will continue to do so in the hope that one day this terrible disease can be wiped out. Not a day goes by that we don't live that last weekend and wish we could change things, All we have are a lot of happy memories. We visit her grave every day and ask why she had to die and leave us lost and broken-hearted.

"We miss you so much and can't bear life without you. Good night and sleep tight our angel. Till we meet again, love you always Mam, Dad, Mark and David."


  • 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