Ashley’s Meningitis Story

Meningitis Stories

On 29 March 1995, Ashley, a cheerful and mischievous young boy, was sent home from
school due to a headache and feeling unwell. Tragically, he succumbed to meningitis shortly
after and passed away. His vibrant nature and loving spirit touched the hearts of many.

Ashley suffered from childhood migraines so this wasn’t uncommon for him and his cousins
had recently suffered from flu, so I thought he could possibly be going down with it too.

He lay on the sofa until early evening – he had been sick but said that he was feeling much
better. He asked for a hot cross bun which he ate and then went to bed. He was sick later
that evening. I felt it was my fault as I let him eat the hot cross bun.

I checked on him when I went to bed and he seemed settled. I woke in the night and went in
to him – he said his head was feeling better but his legs ached. I remember saying: “It must
be that flu bug Ash”. I gave him a paracetamol, he settled and I went back to bed.

The next time I woke at about 5am, I heard him making strange noises. I rushed in, he was
obviously having trouble breathing and I couldn’t wake him – he was unconscious. I struggled
with him to the phone and called the doctor and an ambulance.

I was screaming for help. Craig, my other son, went to get a neighbour who gave him mouth-
to-mouth until the doctor and ambulance arrived. I can never describe that feeling.”

The doctor arrived within minutes and told me to get ready to go to Bath’s Royal United
Hospital. He thought Ashley had a blockage. The ambulance crew stabilised him on a
ventilator and took him to hospital.

My dad drove me – by the time we arrived Ashley had developed a bruising rash. By this
time it was clear to the doctors what was wrong, but I still believed that they would save him.
After several hours of treatment and tests the doctors told me that Ashley was so overcome
by meningococcal septicaemia that there was nothing else they could do. I never got to say
goodbye and I struggle to live with the fact that I never knew he was so poorly.

My family and I now devote as much time and energy into fundraising in memory of Ashley –
the little boy who we all love and miss so much.

On his birthday every year we hold tribute evenings, which are a huge success. We have
lots of fun including guest artists, so far we have had the Fab Beatles, Robbie Williams
Tribute, Mick Hucknall Tribute and Rock & Roll evenings. We also have an annual football

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