John Broom, from Cullompton, was 2 when his younger brother Matthew became ill, aged just ten months in 1987. Fortunately, Matthew went on to make a good recovery, and ran the London Marathon in 2017, with help from John with his training.
“Through helping Matthew the seed was planted to do the marathon myself,” John said. Now, the 34-year-old father of two, who runs his own plumbing and heating business, has the opportunity to emulate his brother’s achievement in the world-famous event on Sunday 28 April.
John said, “Matthew is my reason for running for Meningitis Now. He contracted meningococcal meningitis at the very young age of 10 months."
“He had been very tired the night before but nothing unusual and the doctor was called early the next morning, because he had a swollen cheek, which they thought was an abscess."
“The doctor prescribed medication to be collected later, but within an hour or two he had had a convulsion and was rushed to the doctors."
Straight to the hospital
“We were advised to go straight to the hospital and he was sick several times en-route. He was rushed through and a lumbar puncture confirmed he had meningitis.”
John added, “My parents were devastated. They thought that this was an infection which was not known in the West Country, but unbeknown to them there were several cases already in the hospital - all young babies and children."
“At no point did my brother have any kind of rash or sensitivity to light, it was just the temperature which caused the convulsion that made my parents rush him to the doctors."
“My brother spent two weeks in an isolation room and one week on a normal ward. My mum was able to stay with him the whole time and at the beginning a bed was made up for her and then when he began to improve she was given a chair."
“My brother was extremely lucky to pull through. I know my parents said that a baby had to be rushed to another hospital to have fluid drained from their head."
“Matthew has been lucky enough to have had no ill effects from meningitis. This can be a very devastating disease which I feel is quite often overlooked.”
John has been training hard for the marathon on the back of running two half marathons and to date has raised almost £1,200 towards our lifesaving and life-changing work.
“The training is an absolute beast but it’s something I am determined to achieve,” John added. “I will get the drive, energy and mental strength from my wife Claire and children Corey, 10, and Summer, 8."
“And I’m grateful to Tom Gozna and Rob Norrish for helping with the training early on Sunday mornings. Tom is also running the marathon this year, for the British Heart Foundation. Rob has been running with me to keep his fitness levels up whilst being sidelined through injury from playing for Willand Rovers.”
You can support John’s efforts on his charity page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/john-broom2.