“It has taken me five years to be able to speak about our experience without bursting into tears! This year is a big year for us,” Keeley said.
The family had just welcomed their newest edition, Noah when Poppy, then just 5, began to show symptoms.
“Poppy complained that she felt unwell. She was frequently being sick and every time she drank she was sick. Poppy said that she needed the toilet but she didn't have the strength to move. Her dad Kieron carried her to the toilet and her whole body became limp. I saw a purple rash appearing on Poppy's neck. Everything was happening so fast I was so scared. I phoned the ambulance and the paramedics arrived."
Once at the hospital, Poppy was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia and was placed in a coma to give her the best chance of fighting the infection. After four agonising days in paediatric intensive care, Poppy was finally woken.
Happy but scared
“Poppy woke up and couldn't talk. She just babbled. I was so happy she was still here but so scared what this disease had done to her. After a few minutes she started to make sense a little more, then she asked for a drink and then she said the best sentence ever. ‘Can I still have my McDonalds?’”
“I couldn't believe it. After everything she had been through, after the massive trauma her body had been through and she had remembered about the promise. From that moment we knew we were still a family of four. Poppy has made a full recovery and only has very slight scarring on her upper thigh. These are her medals."
On 31 July, the Leicestershire couple will join 25,000 Ride London cyclists at the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, before taking on the Surrey countryside and reaching the finish line on The Mall in central London.
All money raised will go towards our vital vaccine research, raising awareness of the disease’s symptoms and supporting others fighting back. To support the family and help fight meningitis, sponsor them through their Just Giving page here.