We were very proud today watching our awesome godson Gabriel run 1.5k with his cousin Oscar, to raise money for Meningitis Now, in memory of his beautiful sister Clara.
Jane Tomlinson's, York Mini and Junior Run
We arrived at York Racecourse with our cheering voices on, ready to support all the fantastic children taking part in the Arena Group York Mini & Junior runs.
It was lovely to see the children ready and raring to go in their running kits. The determination on their faces truly was a sight to behold. Gabriel (left) and Oscar (right) were both really looking forward to taking part - as you can see from their huge smiles!
As the crowds gathered, the children grew even more excited and before we knew it, the hooter had sounded and they were off! Not a galloping horse in sight today at this fabulous racing venue, but it was so much more special to see sprinting children putting their all into this fun and challenging race.
When Gabriel and Oscar crossed the finish line we were very proud and it brought a tear to our eye. Two wonderful boys running in memory of such a special little girl.
The boys were both elated when they received their medals and you could see in their eyes, even at only four and six years old, that they knew they had achieved something fantastic.
Meningitis Now is the UK's largest Meningitis charity, offering support, funding research and raising awareness of this devasting illness.
In September last year all their hard work was rewarded when the Men B vaccine (Bexsero) was introduced on the National Childhood Immunistration Programme for all newborn babies. This made us the first country in the world to offer this revolutionary new vaccine via a national health service. Such a fantastic achievement after years of hard work, fundraising and research.
Their Vision 2020 was launched earlier this year and their two main goals are:
(1) Saving lives and preventing disability through improving prevention and rapid diagnosis, and
(2) rebuilding futures and improving quality of life through increased recognition of the impact of meningitis and provision of timely, effective support.
With no central Government funding, Meningitis Now are reliant on donations to help raise the £4 million they need to support people facing meningitis every year.
The money raised by Meningitis Now is used in the following ways:
- Research. They support reseach that finds new, and enhances existing, vaccines to save lives and prevent disability.
- Support. They provide specialist support to help rebuild lives and ensure no-one has to face meningitis alone. Our support is a lifeline to victims of meningitis and we will continue to reach out to everyone affected, with practical, financial and emotional support. Our lovely friend Claire and her family have benefitted immensely from the suppport offered by Meningitis Now and have also offered support to others.
- Awareness. They save lives through awareness and education, giving people the knowledge and confidence to say “I suspect meningitis” - fast action saves lives.
- Campaign. They campaign for the introduction of licensed vaccines as soon as they are available in the UK, because time lost is lives lost. They fight for the rights of those affected and use our voice to make sure they get the very best care.
If you would like to donate to Meningitis Now please click here to access the donations' page of their website.
Clara Willow Fox
Clara is Gabriel's sister and Oscar's cousin and sadly lost her life to meningitis at only ten months old.
When Clara passed away in October 2010, it was the saddest moment of our lives. Knowing that we would never again be able to cuddle this incredible little girl, who had the most beautiful blue eyes and beaming smile, broke all of our hearts.
Her amazing mummy and daddy, her loving family and all of her friends miss her everyday - she will always have a very special place in our hearts.
Clara's mummy, Claire, has incredible strength and truly is an inspirational person. Shortly after Clara died, Claire set up a Forever Fund so that money could be raised in Clara's memory for Meningitis Now.
The fund homepage inlcudes a message from Claire which we wanted to share with you:
"Clara was a very longed and waited for baby, an image of perfection in our dreams, to a perfect reality in our arms overwhelming us with her beauty on December the 8th 2009. Then there was 'her smile', everyone talks about Clara's smile, her kindness, sensitivity and the enthusiasm she had for everything, fun and loving she lit the lives of all who met her. Clara has left us, our family & our friends far too soon, we will never fill our hearts again, but with every beat that I have left I will raise awareness & try to support those who also feel the pain we have felt since the 6th of October when she was taken from us by pneumococcal meningitis and septicemia. I will hold you forever in my heart my darling until I see your smile again, I love you, mama xx"
To date the fund has raised an incredible £21,098. Such an achievement and a wonderful tribute to Clara.
If you would like to make a donation to Meningitis Now through Clara's Forever Fund please click here.
What is Meningitis?
Meningitis can affect anyone, of any age, at any time. It is the inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord and can be caused by different organisms, the most common being bacteria and viruses.
Meningitis can strike quickly, but its impact can last a lifetime.
- 10% of bacterial cases result in death.
- 1 in 3 of those who survive bacterial meningitis are left with after-effects, many of which are severe such as brain damage, hearing and sight loss, and where septicaemia (blood poisoning) has occurred, loss of limbs and scarring.
- Bacterial meningitis kills more UK children under the age of five than any other infectious disease.
- Viral meningitis is usually less serious than bacterial meningitis but can still leave people with long-lasting after-effects, such as headaches, fatigue and memory problems.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, remaining vigilant and getting medical help quickly can save lives. The symtoms information provided by Meningitis Now can be found here and has already saved many lives – learn what to look out for today.
Thank you for reading this, it really means a lot to us.