Meningitis Now staff member Clara Wiggins

Rachel's Edinburgh half marathon fundraiser in memory of Gregor

Clara Wiggins | 23rd November 2019

One of our supporters will be running in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival next year in memory of her brother, who died of meningitis aged just 13 years old

Rachel running Edinburgh Half Marathon after brothers meningitis death

Rachel Smith, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, said she would be racing a half marathon and wanted to do it to raise awareness about meningitis as well as funds for Meningitis Now.

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival takes place on Sunday 24 May 2020 and we are encouraging our supporters to sign up.

Rachel said her brother’s tragic death was shockingly quick.

“Gregor was 13 years old when he woke on 24 February 2013 with a high temperature and sore legs,” she said.

“He then grew weaker, and at midday he was taken to A&E where he was diagnosed him with a viral bug and sent home."

“Gregor then returned to A&E three hours later as a rash had started to spread over his body. He passed away six hours later with his family at his side - the cause being meningococcal septicaemia.”

Extremely vital

Seven years on and Rachel is looking forward to taking part in the race in memory of her brother, who was a keen footballer and member of a local football club.

“I feel as though the work that the charity do, especially raising awareness around the symptoms of meningitis, is extremely vital,” she said.

“If the symptoms had been recognised earlier in that day, Gregor would still be with us today - it is so important that meningitis is recognised early."

“I completed the same half marathon in 2016 so am trying to improve on my personal best and raise some money to help Meningitis Now continue the important research they do."

Life is hard every day

“Life is hard every day having someone so important taken away from you but doing events like this keeps their memory alive and also raises money for a great cause.”

Rachel said the death of her brother had had a dramatic impact on all her family, and that life would never be the same for any of them. But she also said it was important to remember him and praised Meningitis Now for helping with this:

“Gregor's Forever Fund provides a place where people can go and donate to the page, read his story, and it really helps keep Gregor’s memory alive,” she said. “This has been a great source of comfort for myself and my family.”

Viv Jones, Meningitis Now’s Community Fundraiser for Scotland, said she hoped Rachel’s story would inspire others to sign up and take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

“It’s a great event for our supporters in Scotland and the north of England to take part in, whether you are new to running or have loads of experience,” she said.

“The course itself is flat and fast – in fact, it has been voted as the fastest in the UK by Runners World."

“But more than that, it is also a particularly stunning race as you pass the beautiful city and gorgeous seafront."

“I hope all of these factors will be enough to get people to sign up, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions at all!”

To find out more about the Edinburgh Marathon Festival and how to support Meningitis Now please visit our Edinburgh Marathon Festival page.

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