Paul Bayliss, 40, from Sheffield, has taken part tirelessly in runs over the years since he first recovered from meningitis, including completing the London Marathon three times.
He had decided to hang up his running shoes because his legs were telling him they had had enough, but a second scare with the deadly disease brought him out of retirement to take on this autumn’s Great North Run – the world’s biggest half marathon.
“I raised just over £23,000 before my legs decided they had had enough,” Paul said. “But now I’m back and I’m hoping this one last event will get me past the £25k mark.”
In 1999 when Paul was 22-years-old he was playing Sunday morning football when he received an elbow to the right side of his head. He remembers winning a penalty but having to be substituted. He went to work on the following days, but by the Thursday had developed a serious headache and lockjaw. He saw a doctor on the Friday but collapsed shortly afterwards.
What Paul didn’t know at the time was that the blow to his head had fractured his skull, allowing bacteria to get in the meninges, the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, leading to meningococcal meningitis. Paul was admitted to hospital and slowly started to recover.
“Basically I was just lucky, but it took me seven years to get myself back. Since then I’ve been determined to give something back to this fantastic charity by helping raise awareness and funds. Meningitis can happen to anyone at any time, you just never know,” Paul added. “I never expected it to happen to me.”
Supporters can help Paul hit his target by sponsoring him.