Parents of Bourne boy raise awareness of meningitis after son beat disease

Victoria and Billy Bull with daughters Charlotte, left, and Jessica and baby Lewis Photo: SG100711-285TW
Victoria and Billy Bull with daughters Charlotte, left, and Jessica and baby Lewis Photo: SG100711-285TW
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A COUPLE have pledged to help raise awareness of meningitis after their son fought off the potentially fatal disease.

Billy and Victoria Bull, of Broadway Close, Bourne, were unable to hold or comfort baby Lewis as he screamed due to the pain caused by pneumococcal meningitis.

Two months on, 10-month-old Lewis has seen off the disease and is back to his normal happy self.

Billy and Victoria are keen to raise awareness of the disease, particularly as Lewis did not have the usual distinctive rash associated with meningitis.

Pneumococcal meningitis causes the layers which surround the brain and spinal cord to become infected.

There were 200 reported cases in the UK in 2008 and symptoms include headache, sickness, fitting, sensitivity to light and a rash.

Nursery assistant Victoria said: “We are very lucky that he is still here and still alive.

“The consultant said had it been six hours later in taking him to the doctors we would have been looking at a completely different story.”

Lewis suffered a cold in the week before the meningitis struck, on May 12.

Victoria says he did not want to wake up that morning and cried when she bathed him ahead of an appointment with the health visitor.

She said he did not want to be touched and was in pain.

Victoria took him to the doctors who advised her to go to Peterborough City Hospital.

Doctors there soon diagnosed meningitis and began treating him. On the third and fourth days of his hospital stay Lewis began to suffer fits. He was screaming with pain despite being given medication but Victoria and Billy were helpless to comfort their baby.

Victoria said: “It was awful, you can’t imagine it. You just want to hold your child and be there for them and we couldn’t pick him up as he was in so much pain.”

His condition got worse and he was transferred to Addenbrookes in Cambridge.

He was sedated and put on a life support machine for the journey and following day, when further scans were carried out.

Six days after he fell ill, Lewis was taken off life support and he was given strong antibiotics. A week later an intravenous line was fitted to inject the drugs into his body, which meant the family could come home.

Victoria and Billy were able to bring their elder daughters, Charlotte, 14, and Jessica, 12, to stay with them at Addenbrookes. The family were able to be close to Lewis by staying in a house provided by the Sick Child Trust.

Victoria and Billy are telling their story about Lewis to raise awareness about the condition and its symptoms.

Victoria’s employer Building Blocks Nursery has also organised a week of fundraising events to give something back to the charities, the Sick Child Trust and the Meningitis Trust, which have helped the Bull family.

Staff at the nursery, in Exeter Street, Bourne, will be holding a range of fundraising activities between Monday, July 18, to Friday, July 22. These include a cake stall, games, a treasure map created by youngsters and a baby photograph competition.

The nursery will also be raising money on an open day on Saturday, July 30, plus nursery assistant Robyn McGreary, 21, will be doing a sponsored skydive. The nursery will also be holding a baby fit session at a date to be announced.

Manager Esther Dofunmu said: “We felt that it would be nice idea to raise something for the charities which have supported the family.”

For information about meningitis go to www.nhs.uk and enter “meningitis” in the search box or visit www.meningitis-trust.org