THE WIFE of Birmingham City FC goalkeeper Colin Doyle is running the Morrisons Great Birmingham 10k to raise money for charity Meningitis Now after her son contracted meningitis – three times.
Becky Doyle, 37, from Solihull, was terrified when her son Liam, now four, contracted bacterial meningitis aged seven weeks.
Born four weeks premature, he was diagnosed with pneumonia soon after birth and spent the first months of his life in intensive care.
In May 2014, Liam contracted another form of meningitis, pneumococcal septicaemia. Immediately after, he also developed Strep B meningitis.
Although Liam recovered, he was treated for suspected meningitis again in October. He has also been diagnosed with Ataxia – a condition that induces tremors and seizures.
Becky said: “From that first diagnosis, the staff at Meningitis Now have been just incredible. They’ve provided so much support and counselling, it’s really helped us as a family.”
One of Becky’s reasons for taking part in the run was to raise awareness of the Governent’s refusal to fund a vaccine for Meningtis B because of its high costs and put pressure on the powers that be to give the vaccine the green light.
Meningtis Now has been tirelessly campaigning for the approval too.
And thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, Health Minister Jeremy Hunt has this week given the vaccine the go-ahead – a move which will potentially save hundreds of lives every year in the UK.
Becky and her family have already raised £22,000 for Meningitis Now by organising a charity ball in March.
The event was attended by 220 people, with numerous companies donating, including Barclays, Irwin Mitchell solicitors, Land Rover and Cadbury.
She now hopes to raise £3,000 through the Morrisons Great Birmingham 10k before taking on the Morrisons Great Birmingham Run later this year.
Becky added: “We’re always on our guard with Liam.
“Most sufferers develop meningitis once, overcome it and never get it again.
“We don’t know why it’s re-occurred with Liam. If he shows any symptoms, even of a mild cold, we have to be on high alert.
“It’s been really challenging as a family but we’ve really overcome it together.
“We’ve been told our son could die three times now. We’ve all had to be strong together. I have two other children, Ava who is six and Harry who is 12, and they both know how to put their brother in the recovery position.
“I’m incredibly proud of my son – I just want Liam to keep smiling; we’ll keep fighting.”
Becky has set up a website for her son to raise awareness about his condition: http://www.liamssmiles.co.uk.
To sponsor Becky, please visit Liam’s Justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/liamssmiles/