Jennifer Foran

In late November 1984 my youngest sister, Mary got very sick. She was almost 3 and full of life but in the space of 2 days she was a limp and lifeless little thing lying on our living room floor. Our GP left his packed surgery to rush to our house and then tell my Mam that there was no time to wait for an ambulance, Mary was so ill that he would bring her to Temple Street himself. A few days later and my parents were given the devastating news that Mary had meningitis and septicaemia and she would not make it. The priest was called to give Mary the last rites and blessings. Our parents were devastated.

By some miracle, Mary started to get better and a little stronger every day. The doctors and nurses could not believe how this tiny child was such a fighter but she was. They all fell in love with her as she was such a little character. On the 10th Dec 1984 Mary was allowed home from hospital, it was her 3rd birthday.

Fast forward to the end of Feb 2000 and my eldest daughter, Sophie, just 10 weeks old, got very sick very fast. Because of what she had gone through with Mary, my Mam knew instinctively that Sophie had meningitis. She said she felt like she was going back in time and reliving Mary’s illness all over again. We got Sophie to Temple Street and because of my Mam’s quick thinking and quick action, Sophie’s life was saved. Her consultant even told us she was one of his miracle patients. It was a very worrying time for us all but as far as I’m concerned, my Mother saved my daughters life because of what she knew and had gone through and I am eternally grateful.

So why am I telling you all this? Because in October myself and Mary (meningitis survivor) ran the Dublin City Marathon together. I know there are so many wonderful charities to choose from but I just feel it is fitting that I run for “ACT for Meningitis”. How Mary & Sophie survived without side effects really is miraculous. So many don’t survive or are left with horrific side effects that I feel I should try to raise funds to help them. We are the lucky ones. You may think it bad luck for 2 girls from the same family to both get meningitis but 2 of our cousins got it as well. And I am pleased to say that both Lynn & Hannah survived without side effects too. So really we have a lot to be thankful for.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully one day this horrible illness will be no more. But in the meantime, vital funds need to be raised to bring awareness and to help the families coping with the aftermath. The families who were not as lucky as us.


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