A FORMER Hucknall mum is backing a campaign calling for a national vaccination programme against a type of meningitis — after her toddler son survived the potentially deadly illness.
Rachel Whitemore’s life was turned upside down when her youngster, Kassius, who was just two years old at the time, contracted the brain bug, which can kill inside hours.
Fortunately, little Kassius pulled through after he was rushed to hospital in the nick of time — just four days after Christmas on December 29 last year.
But now Rachel, who formerly lived on Tavstock Close in Hucknall, is supporting the ‘Counting The Cost Of Meningitis’ campaign, which is being run by the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).
This is calling on the government to push for a vaccination scheme against meningitis B (meningococcal group B disease), which is the most common form of the illness and leads to septicaemia (blood poisoning)
Single mum Rachel, who now lives at Byron Fields, Annesley, said: “When Kassius contracted the illness, we had all been suffering from flu for the previous two weeks, so when he became ill, we just assumed that is what it was.
“According to the doctors, we caught it early and Kassius has emerged from this terrible trauma apparently unscathed, apart from a few tissue scars.”
Rachel, who last month ran the Robin Hood half-marathon in Nottingham on behalf of the MRF, added: “I still cannot believe how lucky we were and how our story could have been so different.
“So I am supporting this campaign to ensure everyone is aware of the dangers of the disease and to ensure every child is vaccinated against every type of meningitis”
Meningitis and septicaemia are deadly diseases that can strike anyone without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with lifelong after-effects.
‘Counting The Cost Of Meningitis’ is aimed at pointing the spotlight on the shocking lifelong financial costs of surviving meningitis and septicaemia and calls on the government to pursue the widest and earliest implementation of vaccines to prevent the diseases.
Christopher Head, chief executive of MRF, said: “The campaign shows how those who survive can struggle to come to terms with the impact of these horrific diseases, which change lives forever.
“Our campaign makes practical recommendations to government to reduce the burden of disease through vaccination in the UK.
“Vaccination provides peace of mind for every parent across the country. To date, more than 4.000 people agree with us and have signed our online petition at www.meningitis.org/sign-petition. I appeal to the people of Hucknall and the rest of the Dispatch district to sign our petition too and join the fight against meningitis and septicaemia.”