Mia’s story – one year on

9th March 2017

One year ago, as the Men B vaccine debates were taking place, we continued to hear distressing stories where any Government change of heart to introduce the vaccine to all children would come too late. One such story was that of Mia. Mum Becky recalls her story and the last sad year since Mia’s death

Mia one year on

“Our lives were turned upside down and torn apart in the early hours of Wednesday 9th March. Our daughter, Mia, was just coming up to 18 months. She was such a happy, smiley little girl, who lit up any room she walked into with her bright red hair, gorgeous big blue eyes and gorgeous smile - she was full of life.”

“We had so much love for her, so many plans - day trips, holidays, family get-togethers - as we watched her grow. She had grown such a strong personality, she was our world and we were so happy. On Tuesday 8th March she was sick, but this had no smell to it as we had just had dinner on the way back from Manchester. We put it down to her being warm in the car.”

“She was still running around and playing with her toys when we called to see granddad, but she had become a bit warm and started to develop a temperature, so we gave her calpol and ibuprofen. Mia had a previous history of fitting, but, after visits to hospital and doctors, they put it down to viral and febrile convulsions due to temperature.”

Happy to play

“So, that night we were making sure we got her temperature down so that she didn't fit. She was still happy to play in between short naps. At 10.15pm as we went to bed, I noticed a small red spot that looked like the start of chicken pox on her ribcage. I said to Matthew, ‘I bet she's getting chicken pox’.”

“We put Mia in bed with us and at 2.15am she woke up asking for a drink. I said to Matthew ‘she feels warm, go downstairs and get her some calpol’. I then saw that she had purple blotches all over her little body. I screamed to Matthew ‘we need to get her to hospital, I think she's got meningitis’.”

“At this point Mia was still responsive, I was talking to her all the way in the car and she was looking at me and still responsive. When we arrived at hospital the nurse looked, took us in and the doctor took us straight to resus. They said she was really poorly and all the doctors were rushing around frantically, but this just wasn't enough and we lost our precious little girl to meningitis B.”

“If she had been given this vaccine we would probably still have our little girl and we would not be in this horrible place where we are now. This should not have happened. The meningitis vaccine should and needs to be given to all children under the age of 5.”

This last year

“This last year without our gorgeous little girl has been like living a nightmare every single day, everything has changed. People are out there living their lives but how are we supposed to get on with ours when the day Mia’s heart stopped our lives were torn apart.”

“We can't remember some bits of the last 12 months as it was such a blur, but if it hadn't been for the love and support of our amazing family and friends, and Meningitis Now, I don't know where we would be now. The week after we lost Mia Steve Dayman, Meningitis Now’s founder, came to visit us and sat with us for quite some time, listening to the stories about Mia and what she was like - this helped us.”

“Then we joined Steve and Gloria, his wife, on the Harbourside walk in April in Bristol and it was a chance for us to meet other people that had had their lives affected by meningitis. As a family we decided that we would become volunteers for Meningitis Now and we made it our mission to campaign for the Men B vaccine and fundraise for such a fantastic charity. That helped us in our darkest hours; we felt that Mia would live on in everything that we did and her legacy would help other families.”

“We set up bag packs, tombola stalls, sky dives, sponsored walks and visited our local doctors’ surgeries and handed out over 15,000 signs and symptoms cards etc to spread awareness of the signs and symptoms in our community.”

Matthew Bright and Becky Barton, Mia’s parents

Watch Mia's story in our video section on Facebook.