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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Fundraising campaign which led to hope and a breakthrough vaccine

EGREMONT parents who lost their teenage daughter to meningitis have raised £35,000 towards a life-saving vaccine.

By Mark White

Lisa Bell, 16, died of meningitis in 2006, less than 36 hours after showing any symptoms.

On the eighth anniversary of her death, her mum and dad, Pauline and Tony, are saying a “huge thank-you” to all those who have supported them over the years and who helped “restore their faith in humanity”.

The couple recently received a letter from the Meningitis Research Foundation thanking them for their fundraising which has helped fund a new vaccine which will be offered to babies at two, four and 12 months of age against meningococcal B (MenB); the highly aggressive strain from which Lisa died.

The Department of Health says, however, it is too early to say when this vaccine will be made available.

Pauline said: “At last something has been done, which is great. This vaccine has cost millions so what we have raised is just a drop in the ocean.”

Tony said: “It’s brilliant and a major breakthrough because that’s what all the fundraising has been about. Despite that, you can’t help but think in the back of your mind that if this vaccine was here eight years ago, would Lisa have survived?”

Lisa was a was a keen netball and badminton player, who had attended Bookwell Primary School before going to Wyndham School, where her mum Pauline used to teach.

“At first when you lose someone so young you feel you’ve got to do something because you just can’t let go,” Tony said.

“As soon as we started to fundraise we were amazed at how many people came up to us wanting to help.

“We want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who has helped us over the eight years.

“We want to make it clear to those that have helped and donated that this outcome would not have been possible without each and every one of them and, for that, we are eternally grateful.”

The family say they will continue to raise money and awareness in memory of Lisa, but understand how much the community has already given.

“Everyone has given so much money for the cause and we know that times are tough financially.”

Although the family do not mark the anniversary of Lisa’s death, Pauline says Lisa’s birthday in September is still a special but “sad occasion’’.

“It’s always a very sad day, Lisa loved fireworks so every year we let off a huge one in her memory,’’ she said.

As well as fundraising, the family have left meningitis symptom cards across Copeland to raise awareness.

“A friend of mine told me that a Whitehaven employee felt unwell and was going to be sent home, but because of our leaflets, was sent to hospital and was found to have meningitis,’’ Pauline said.

“They survived and that’s exactly what the symptoms cards are there for.

“We want this information to be out there so that people are aware before it’s too late.’’

Write to: Meningitis Research Foundation, Midland Way, Thornbury, Bristol BS35 2BS

Tel: 01454 281811. Email: info@meningitis.org Website: www.meningitis.org

What to watch for

THE symptoms in bold show those more specific to meningitis and septicaemia and less common in milder illnesses.
Symptoms for meningitis include:

Fever and/or vomiting

Severe headache

Rash (anywhere on the body)

Stiff neck (less common in young children)

Dislike of bright lights (less common in young children)

Very sleepy /vacant

Confused /delirious

Seizures (fits) may also be seen.

The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.


Have your say

Fantastic very proud and looking fine their my boy famous already

Posted by Chris on 10 April 2014 at 14:01

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