A grief-stricken mother who lost her two-year-old daughter to meningitis has shared a photograph of her dying child to campaign for a change in government policy.
Faye Burdett’s brave parents want the world to see what this awful disease does to children and have given permission for their friend to share this photo to raise awareness.
It shows the tiny tot covered in a rash hooked up to a ventilator and other hospital equipment.
The friend, Charlene Reed, refused to apologise for sharing the image despite its graphic nature.
She said: “No it’s not nice but it’s reality, and it’s what this disease did to Faye which made her sadly lose her life on Sunday.”
From September last year, babies born after July 1 have been vaccinated free of charge on the NHS against meningitis B. But parents of older children have been forced to pay £350 for the same protection.
Now Faye’s family and friends are joining thousands of others to sign a petition to ask the Government to make the vaccine free for children older than five months so that they don’t have to die as Faye did.
The family has also set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the hospital that battled to save Faye. You can donate here.
Faye’s parents, Jenny and Neil, took Faye to A&E with a rash on her forehead at the beginning of February and she was diagnosed with meningitis.
Her condition rapidly deteriorated and her heart stopped in the ambulance to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and doctors managed to revive her. She was given a one per cent survival rate but then started to improve.
But the little girl was stricken with sepsis, meaning she would have to lose her arm and leg in a “massive amputation” to give her a chance of surviving.
Eventually her tiny body was no longer able to fight the disease and her devastated parents made the painful decision to let her slip away on Valentine’s Day.
Jenny, who is from Kent, wrote: “Faye was taken to A&E with a rash on her forehead, she was then transferred by south bank retrieval service to Evelina children’s hospital where her heart stopped in the ambulance.
“They revived her and spent hours working on stabilising her, we were given a 1% survival rate but she proved them wrong and carried on fighting, after a few days she seemed to have turned a corner.
“But the the sepsis started to affect her more & the decision of limb removal was made, but the extent of removal was massive, full leg amputation and one arm and plastic surgery.
“She was getting tired, her little body consumed by meningitis and sepsis (blood poisoning) we had to make the decision, a massive operation and she may die or we let her go peacefully on her own accord.
“Our daughter wasn’t able to have the huge operation as the sepsis had consumed ALL her body, and would have bled to death, she didn’t deserve to end her tiny little life like that!
“We decided the latter & then watched our little girl slip away & at 9pm February 14th she finally fell asleep forever. All this in only 11 days.”
Her friend Charlene described how she and Faye’s family were convinced the little girl would pull through so learning the news of her death was “shocking”.
The mother who is also a photographer, said: “Faye fought for a whopping 2 weeks with meningitis and at times we really thought she would come through, so to receive the news on Monday morning was not only heartbreaking but shocking.
“Please sign and share the petition – We are trying to get parliament to reconsider charging us hundreds of pounds each to protect our children from this. In Faye’s legacy we will fight to raise awareness and thankfully with the help of Facebook, the uk today hit the 100,000 signatures needed, but we still want more.
“The vaccination in question has a total cost of £450 per child, I myself am a mother of twins who could never afford something at that cost – its saddening that our lives and the lives of our children depend on the cost of something that would save someone. This petition is so important.”
Thanks to Faye’s friends and family, the petition has already gathered 237,616 signatures, meaning it will be debated in the House of Commoms.
The JustGiving page has already raised £1,699.37 for the Evelina Hospital on Westminster Bridge Road to “help out the hospital that helped Faye so much.”
They added: “Thank you from the bottom of our broken hearts for all the shares, signatures, memories and thoughts surrounding Faye.”
Signs and symptoms of meningitis
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
Bacterial meningitis is very serious and should be treated as a medical emergency. If the bacterial infection is left untreated, it can cause severe brain damage and infect the blood (septicaemia).
According to the NHS website, anyone can get meningitis, but babies and young children under five years of age are most at risk. A baby or young child with meningitis may:
- Have a high fever, with cold hands and feet
- Vomit and refuse to feed
- Feel agitated and not want to be picked up
- Become drowsy, floppy and unresponsive
- Grunt or breathe rapidly
- Have an unusual high-pitched or moaning cry
- Have pale, blotchy skin, and a red rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
- Have a tense, bulging soft spot on their head (fontanelle)
- Have a stiff neck and dislike bright lights
- Have convulsions or seizures
- The above symptoms can appear in any order, and some may not appear at all