Half marathon for Harmonie

26th February 2019

She may be small, but she is very mighty: meningitis superstar Harmonie-Rose is raising her courage to the next level by taking part in the Bath Half Marathon

Meningitis survivor Harmonie-Rose in Bath Half Marathon blog

With the support of a team of seven, including aunt Hannah Hall, Harmonie will be pushed around the course right up to the last 100m when the plan is for her to get out and finish the race under her own steam.

Mum Freya told Meningitis Now how proud she was of her daughter. “She’s just amazing,” she said. “I think she may be a bit overwhelmed on the day – but I know she’ll be buzzing!”

News of Harmonie’s plans for the race in March have already reached far and wide – the story was even featured on Fox News! But perhaps it’s not surprising there’s so much interest; as Freya told us, no-one would have believed they would see this little fighter take part in a major road race when they were facing the possibility she might not even survive.

Harmonie’s story is well known now – partly thanks to a video she made with us for World Meningitis Day 2018. After falling ill aged 15 months, her family was given the devastating news that she only had a 10 per cent chance of survival. But Harmonie fought back – even though the septicaemia that damaged her so badly meant that doctors had to amputate her arms, legs, and the tips of her nose. 

Looked desperate

At the time, Harmonie’s parents and her wider family had no idea what to expect for her future. Freya said they weren’t given any hope at all – “it looked so desperate, it looked like there was no escape at all”.

But Harmonie wasn’t giving up – and testimony to her strength is the fact that she started school last year along with all the other children of her age and is apparently absolutely thriving there. 

“She loves school – she even cried on the snow day because she couldn’t go in!” said Freya. “She’s doing so well, her writing is really coming on.”

Harmonie has obviously made a huge impression on her school; when she was invited to take part in the half marathon, two of her teachers volunteered to be on her support team. Aunt Hannah takes up the story: “We were approached by the race organisers as they wanted three children to take part – including Harmonie.

“After speaking to Harmonie, we said yes immediately."

Fantastic support

“She will be doing it to support the charity Time is Precious – who have given us some fantastic support over the years”.

Time is Precious is a volunteer-run charity that works to create a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for children in hospital and at home. Coincidently, just before Harmonie was asked to take part in the half marathon, she had been in hospital where the charity had sent their Captain Jack Sparrow to entertain the children.

“When we told her this is who she would be running for, she put two and two together and was happy to be a part of it,” added Hannah.

On the day of the race, Harmonie will be pushed in her wheelchair around the course by a team of seven runners – including her aunt. This will be especially poignant for Hannah as she had planned to run in the half marathon last year to raise money for Meningitis Now - until the race was cancelled because of bad weather.

“Now I get to do the Bath Half with Harmonie instead,” she said. “This means it will be much more special!”

Meanwhile, Freya and other family members – including Harmonie’s little sister Luna, who turns one on the day of the race – will be watching and cheering from the sidelines.  And as for all of us here at Meningitis Now, we’ll all be rooting for Harmonie too.

Good luck Harmonie-Rose – we know you’ll be a superstar!

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