Marathon for mum

13th April 2018

Laura Harding is running the Brighton Marathon this weekend, fundraising for Meningitis Now after her mum Jackie contracted the disease last year

Laura - Brighton Marathon

Running a marathon has always been a dream of Laura’s, and when her mum contracted meningitis it gave her all the encouragement and motivation she needed to sign up. 

"January 2017 is when my mum, Jackie, contracted the W strain of meningitis, which due to a delay in correct diagnosis, resulted in her contracting sepsis."

"She was in a coma for 55 days and was in hospital for six months. My mum fought hard for her life - especially during the early stages."

"The doctor said her body was doing the equivalent of A MARATHON A DAY(!) to stay alive - so I thought, surely I should be able to do it just once!"

"Thankfully, my mum pulled through and is back home working hard to get her life back on track."

"Unfortunately, my mum lost her hearing and due to the sepsis had to have both of her lower legs amputated. Although this was a life-changing operation, it also saved her life."

"When Mum finally fully woke up she had a lot to get her head around. She had lost her hearing, both of her lower legs, and all nerve and muscle movement. Adjusting to the monumental challenge she had/still has ahead of her, the start of Mum’s recovery was focused around working on fingers, hands, wrists and then eventually arm movement. Friends and family had to help with very basic tasks such as feeding, cleaning teeth or even simply brushing a hair out of her face. Mum also couldn’t talk due to the tracheotomy and because she could not hear, communication was limited to writing on a white board."

Above and beyond

"Now over a year later, Mum’s movement has vastly improved. She now pretty much has full movement back in her hands, and much improved movement in her arms, shoulders, hips and core. Mum has also been working hard on using her prosthetics to stand and take steps. She has already achieved beyond what we thought would be possible at this point, and it is a huge testament to her hard work."

"Mum has even started to enjoy a couple of weekends away with friends recently, and is looking forward to cheering me on at the marathon in Brighton."

Healthy competition

"Mum’s amazing improvement is down to the unwavering and consistent support she has received from her physio team and our incredible family, in particular my dad Paul, who has barely left her side since she fell ill."

"However, we have also worked hard to encourage each other and even create a bit of healthy competition. We both set ourselves a challenge in December, to mirror the physio Mum was having. She had 30 minutes of physio every day during December, and I ran for 30 minutes daily. Mum’s physio consisted of all sorts of creative exercises, such as boxing sessions, stick fighting and floor exercises - while I successfully dragged myself out for a run each day."

"The timing of my marathon training has been very poignant as it coincided with the time my mum got her prosthetics and started to work on using them."

"Although my mum’s journey is longer and tougher than mine, we have really enjoyed supporting and motivating each other over the past few months - while also hopefully spreading the word and raising awareness about meningitis."

If you would like to sponsor Laura, please visit her fundraising page at