Tilly goes Gung Ho

30th March 2018

Tilly contracted meningitis and septicaemia when she was 15 months old. Sadly, she lost the tips of her toes and had to have both hands amputated


Despite the challenges Tilly has faced growing up, she hasn’t let this dampen her spirit or enjoyment of life, and continues to raise awareness of meningitis and its after-effects, even helping with the development of children’s prosthetics.

Tilly’s mum Sarah says she is ‘doing great’ and has settled in really well to secondary school. 

Unfortunately, she still struggles with her health and in particular walking, as her spine has started to curve at her lower back. A spinal surgeon identified that the issues were due to her losing the tips of her toes as a result of septicaemia, meaning her ankles were twisted due to walking without toes. However further investigation has shown that Tilly’s ankles have now stopped growing and this is actually what is causing the problems with her ankles.

Tilly, now 12 years old, began to have painful episodes where she couldn’t walk at all. Sarah said: “She was in so much pain - many a night she would come out of school in tears.”

An MRI scan revealed that one of Tilly’s legs had stopped growing, and she in now waiting to undergo a series of procedures to lengthen her leg. The first operation is due to take place in the next few months at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The next couple of years are going to be challenging for Tilly, with several operations ahead of her, but the brave youngster has decided to fundraise for Meningitis Now before the operations begin, so she can help other people who have been through a similar experience to her.

Tilly will be taking on the ‘Gung Ho’ 5K inflatable run at Wynard Hall, Durham on 31 March, raising money for Meningitis Now. ‘Gung Ho’ is a fun run over inflatables, with obstacles including; ‘thriller’, ‘walking on the moon’, ‘welcome to the jungle’, ‘born slippy’, and ‘the wall’.

Sarah said: “It will be the last time Tilly can run for a while, so this is pretty huge for her. If you admire Tilly’s determination to succeed and not give up, despite the daily pain she is in; please sponsor her.”

You can show your support by visiting Tilly’s Just Giving page and donating. Or why not join Tilly’s team and take on the inflatable obstacle course yourself! Email Sarah for details sarahl@meningitisnow.org.

Alternatively, there are further ‘Gung Ho’ events happening during the year at various locations throughout the UK. Visit www.begung-ho.co.uk to find your nearest event and fundraise for Meningitis Now. 

Tilly and her mum aren’t stopping at just one event though – they are also in the process of planning a zip wire across the Tyne, and are looking for people to help organise the event or take part. They are also looking for a team to run and fundraise on behalf of Tilly at this year’s ‘Colour Obstacle Rush’, at Newcastle Racecourse on the 16 June. Tilly will be there to cheer you on, but unfortunately won’t be able to take part herself. Visit the Colour Obstacle Rush website for more details about the event.

If you or someone you know can help with any of these events, please email Sarah at sarahl@meningitisnow.org.

Read Tilly's story.