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Keighley area parents back meningitis appeal
Two parents who both lost children to meningitis are supporting a campaign to raise awareness of the deadly disease.
They are backing national Meningitis Awareness Week, which began on Monday.
Oakworth man Ian Wilkinson’s son Kyle died, aged just 18 months, in 1999.
On Sunday, Mr Wilkinson, 52, took part in the Great North Run to raise awareness and funds for the Meningitis Research Foundation.
He was joined by his three sons – Ryan, 26, Daniel, 25, and Patrick 23 – and wife Karen, 43.
Mr Wilkinson, a design engineer, said Kyle had been suffering from a cold for a few days and they had taken him to A&E as a precaution.
“The next morning I couldn't wake Kyle and as I reached into his cot noticed his lips were turning blue,” he said.
“I quickly started mouth to mouth as his breathing was very shallow and he was limp and unresponsive.”
Kyle was rushed to hospital but failed to respond to treatment.
“When he died, Meningitis Research were the first people we contacted and they were very supportive – they helped put is in touch with other people,” said Mr Wilkinson.
“The important thing is making people aware of the condition – it can kill and kill quickly. More awareness could save lives.”
Riddlesden woman Andrea Walker is also using her first-hand experience of meningitis and septicaemia to boost awareness.
Her three-year-old daughter, Ellie, died of Group A streptococcal septicaemia in January this year.
“What we still don’t understand is that Ellie had hardly any of the symptoms – just a fever and a runny nose,” said Mrs Walker, of Bar Lane.
“There was no rash or blotches on her skin.
“I want people to get the message ‘if in doubt – get it checked out’, even if that might seem over-cautious.
“Although Ellie is no longer with us, if I can get the message across it might save another life. I don’t want other people having to experience what I’ve gone through.”
Mrs Walker, a Keighley town councillor, is staging an awareness stand in the Airdale Shopping Centre this Saturday.
Visit meningitis.org or download a free iPhone app from bit.ly/MRFapp for more information about symptoms.