“Being a dad is the most amazing job – to hold your child, see that smile and feel indescribable love – is so special”, says Jamie Fagan.
Sadly, Jamie’s ‘world came crashing down’ when meningitis left his two-year-old son Alexander brain damaged and needing care.
Jamie, of Whiteley, who calls Alexander ‘the cheeky, loving and caring cornerstone of his world’, watched him spend almost half-a-year in hospital fighting.
The devoted dad, 37, said: “Alexander survived, but after significant cost. My son no longer talks, walks or feeds himself, and can only use one arm. It’s soul destroying – no child deserves this – I’m angry and upset that my child has been dealt this hand.”
“His mind’s active, but his body doesn’t respond. Yet, he smiles, has those beautiful eyes and intoxicating laugh, still shows that unconditional love and recognises us. We love him lots and I’ve no idea how hard it is for him.”
Jamie, alongside 41 family and friends, abseiled 328ft of Portsmouth’s iconic Spinnaker Tower on Friday, May 22.
In tribute to Alexander and Meningitis Now, the building shone orange – the charity’s colour – in the evening.
Jamie, who ran this year’s London Marathon in 5:22:06 for the cause, said: “We want rid of this horrendous disease and to raise awareness. We know we cannot make Alexander better, but we can help stop this happening to the next child.”
“The abseil was daunting, but everyone completed it for such a worthy cause. We will do anything possible to help the charity because they receive no Government funding.”
Despite Alexander being floppy, lethargic and unresponsive, three doctors and a nurse diagnosed a virus and suggested rest.
Jamie said: “If we’d done as suggested, Alexander would have died. I was naïve and thought ‘no rash, no meningitis’, but this is wrong and must be highlighted. If anyone sees a loved one become lethargic and floppy – rush them to hospital – this is the lesson we learnt at a cost.”
Doctors finally diagnosed pneumococcal meningitis and the toddler was put in a coma and received stronger antibiotics. Alexander eventually left hospital in June 2014.
Meningitis Now Community Fundraiser Leah Wynn, who also abseiled, added: “What happened to Alexander sadly shows how fast meningitis can strike, often without warning and certain symptoms. What Alexander’s Army is doing is remarkable – their dedication aids our war. It was a superb spectacle at an immense height, before the building beamed orange to raise awareness.”