Yate mum's meningitis event will keep baby Libby's memory alive
A MUM who lost her baby to meningitis is holding a fundraising day, to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease and keep her daughter’s memory alive.
Claire Grove, of Yate, noticed that something was wrong with baby Libby in March last year, when her daughter was exactly six weeks old.
She was living with her parents, and her partner at the time, Jacob Martin, was at work. Claire said: “She was whining rather than crying – usually she would be fidgety and have a lot of movement in her arms when she cried, but this time she was very limp. To me, this was the first sign.”
Claire’s mum then became worried about Libby’s breathing, and Claire called for help. An ambulance took Libby to Bristol Children’s Hospital and once there doctors gave Claire and Jacob the devastating news that Libby had meningitis and septicaemia. Her heart had stopped five times and the disease had spread to her internal organs.
Claire said: “If she was to wake up, which was very unlikely, she would not have been our little girl anymore. The disease took her within hours, and the doctors told us that it was simply too aggressive for her little body to fight. She was unable to breathe by herself, and ultimately we had to make the decision no parent ever wants to make – we had to let her go.”
At Libby's funeral the family asked for donations for Bristol Children’s Hospital. Now Claire is putting all her energy into raising money for the Meningitis Research Foundation. After a successful skydive, Claire is now planning a family fun day at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex on August 10, which she hopes may become an annual event.
Claire is keen to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease and challenge the misconception that the first sign of meningitis is a rash. This wasn’t the case for Libby, whose rash wasn’t noticeable until the paramedics arrived.
She said: “If one person can take away that they have learnt a new symptom of meningitis or what the warning signs are then my job is done.”
At the event there will be lots of family fun, with food, a bar, inflatables, animals and crafts, a treasure hunt, a visit from princesses and live entertainment between midday and 3.30pm. The raffle will have prizes worth up to £250, including Bristol City tickets, Bath Rugby tickets, a 3-hour tattoo session at the Purple Rose Tattoo Studio, family days out and beauty treatments.