Kim was 18, visiting her then boyfriend at Lancaster University and dressed for Halloween, when she fell ill. Sickness, dizziness and shaking followed, but she was sent home from A&E.
The next day she couldn’t move her feet, still felt ill and was covered in a rash which would not fade.
“The rash was spreading and getting darker,” she said. “My feet hurt even more. I asked if it could be something serious. The nurse said it’s definitely not meningitis. Flu can cause a rash. My neck didn’t ache. I could easily look at bright lights. Eventually, hours later, they called an ambulance and blue lighted me to A&E.”
Kim lost her toes and a finger to meningococcal septicaemia.
“I walked like a penguin at first, toes give you balance and sense of space, I kept bumping into things. I now have an excuse for my natural clumsiness.”
She wanted to know if she could run again, but was crushed when a consultant said: “Yes, but you won’t win any races.”
After weeks on crutches and in a wheelchair and many bumps, Kim got back on her feet and the following Easter started running, a mile of the Pennine Way with one of the nurses who cared for her.
It wasn’t until 2008 and with a running club’s help that she got back into her stride. Kim began winning races, setting personal bests and even managing two marathons.
“Yes my feet hurt,” she said. “At the moment they bleed too. Will the pain stop me? No. It’s only temporary and I’m not damaging myself. The adrenalin and buzz from a PB, placing, enjoying a new route with friends, or smashing speed reps on the track, outweighs this pain – a million to one.”
This year Kim is tackling the Royal Parks Half for Meningitis Now and taking on fellow supporter Alan Glynn’s Miles for Meningitis project.
We chatted with her to discover what inspires her to run
Why did you sign up to the Royal Parks Half for us?
I wanted to include an iconic race in my Miles for Meningitis fundraising year, and run in Meningitis Now’s team. I ran the London Marathon, Great North Run and Great South Run for Meningitis Trust (Meningitis Now) in 2010. This is my first year back running after having my son in 2013, so it means a lot to include fundraising within that.
What are you most looking forward to?
The atmosphere, getting the chance to run through London parks in the Meningitis Now team.
What would you say to anyone thinking about taking part?
Go for it. There are no limits to what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. Once you've done a half-marathon you'll want to run a marathon.
We would love to know about Miles for Meningitis. Why are you taking part and how many miles do you hope to cover in the year?
I’m dedicating my annual race miles, from 05/02/15), to the fab awareness campaign by Alan Glynn to remember his little girl Alexis Rose, who died of meningitis on February 5, 2011. I lost my toes (and nearly my life) to meningitis and septicaemia 17 years ago, so raising awareness via my favourite pastime – running – appeals to me. I hope to run over 40 races in the year – over 300 miles. My March included four half-marathons and 10-mile race, alongside personal bests and race wins. I hope the year continues as it started.
Many thanks to sussexsportphotography.com for the image