Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

William to tackle marathon after battling meningitis

Andy Hopkinson | 13th April 2021

A Grantham schoolboy is preparing to walk a marathon to raise money for us next month after we supported his family after he contracted meningitis as a baby

Meningitis survivor William takes on fundraising marathon

Five-year-old William - who dressed as his hero Captain Sir Tom Moore for World Book Day last month - will be walking and cycling 26 miles.

Mum, Rebecca, told us, “William had meningitis as a baby, and thanks to our wonderful GP for acting so quickly he came through it and is now loving life.

“He loves the great outdoors and enjoys his adventures so we thought that we would combine the two and give something back.”

Developed a cough

Rebecca took William to the GP after he developed a cough at four months old.

She said, “William is our only child and so when he started coughing we just assumed he was getting a cold. But when he couldn’t lay down we started to get concerned that something didn’t seem right and took him to the doctor where the GP told us to take him straight to hospital.”

It was only as the family arrived at Peterborough City Hospital that William started developing a rash over his body and became lifeless.

He spent the next two weeks in hospital with his family by his side.

Fought every second

Rebecca added: “He literally fought every second. We just spent the days hoping he would pull through. It was a really difficult time but our family rallied around to support us.”

William, who learned to ride a bike without stabilisers during the first lockdown, has already reached a fabulous £1,620 but hopes to raise more. You can support his efforts here.

His mum and dad, Craig, will be accompanying him on walks and cycle rides, and they will be walking part of the way to school each morning while recording the distance he covers on their activity tracker watches.

Looking forward to the challenge

Rebecca says their son is looking forward to the challenge.

She added, “Fortunately there have been no long-term after-effects from his illness; we were lucky because it was diagnosed so quickly."

Leah Wynn, our Fundraising Officer, said, “Thank you William, Rebecca and Craig for your support and we hope the challenge goes well for you. 

“We rely on the generosity, energy and initiative of our supporters to raise the vital funds we need to carry out our lifesaving and life-changing work – never more so than at the moment.

“William’s efforts will make a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.”

Thanks to Tracey Davies and the Grantham Journal for allowing us to reproduce quotes and photos from their newspaper article.