Luke was a well-loved, fit and healthy 23 year old lad. But in September of 2019 Luke was rushed to hospital after his mum and dad found him having seizures on his bed.
After being rushed to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, Luke was placed in to and induced coma. Sadly Luke’s life couldn’t be saved but he went on to save three other people’s lives.
Since Luke’s passing, he has posthumously been awarded the order of St John for his life saving organ donations.
September 2016 – I started with what I thought would be the next chapter in my life, University. Going out drinking more times than being in lectures, getting hangovers for a living just not having a care in the world.
18th December 2016 – Celebrating my 19th Birthday in Chester, going to every bar I could to get a well deserved hangover as it was after all my birthday.
19th December 2016 – I worked at Tesco, turned up normally for my shift not feeling the greatest, I felt drained and unreasonably tired, I dealt with hangovers well and got over them easily. I knew 30 minutes into my shift, I knew I wasn’t well and had to go home at 8.20pm which then I slept until 6.30am the next morning.
20th December 2016 – I woke up with a severe head ache. Not being able to lift my head off the pillow and hoping sunglasses would relieve the pain in my head was the moment I knew something wasn’t right. I rang my mum and cried telling her I something wasn’t right, I didn’t feel normal, she advised to get some sleep until the doctors opened. It was 8am by time I woke up, With my speech slurred and my energy levels next to nothing, I was able to get an emergency doctor’s appointment with my GP.
They wanted to see me urgently due to the symptoms I was showing, I managed to call a taxi and get to the doctors with a lot of help from the taxi driver. Being in the Doctors for 5 Minutes, I was being assisted over to the ICU ward at the Countess of Chester Hospital in an ambulance following a 999 call, it turns out I was showing every sign of meningitis and septicaemia. I was isolated completely and couldn’t have no one by my side whilst the consultant performed a Lumbar Puncture.
The tests come back within an hour, I contracted Bacterial Meningitis, and it was getting worse by the minutes. I had IV antiviral medication pumping through my body constantly, I was more unconscious more than I was conscious, there was a major threat that It was slowly developing into septicaemia. I couldn’t see my family, couldn’t even pick the phone up to speak to them over a phone call as had no energy to do nothing. The little energy I had I knew I had to use it to fight off this illness.
I spent a lot of time in a side room, with doctors in and out wearing masks, aprons and gloves. 24/7 Monitoring from the most amazing health care team. Turns out, the nights out I had been on, some where which to this day is unknown, I had contracted the Freshers Flu which is very common in this day and age, there was nothing I could of done to stop my self from catching the virus.
The come back from the infection wasn’t easy, it took a lot of time to get back to normal, I dropped out of uni to focus on getting my health back to what it was, follow on MRI scans at the hospital due to on going head pain, only the anxiety of catching Meningitis again was yet to be the biggest scare ill face forever. Im back to my normal self and very lucky to be here after the strain Meningitis took on my body, but I am fully aware of the symptoms.
Hi my name is Christine, I am the mum of Tommy – one of Luke’s friends and I also contracted meningitis a few years ago, so this is my story.
A few years ago, I was just going about my day to day business and had what I thought was just an earache but it got worse so I decided to go to the walk in centre over it. I was told I had an ear infection and was given stuff to take care of it and went home happy in it was just that.
The next day I felt worse and couldn’t really get out of bed so stayed in it for the day and went to sleep early.
The next part of the story I don’t remember but I am told that my son Tommy and his dad found me in bed with what they described as fitting and making a ‘snoring’ like noise.
They rang an ambulance for me and I was rushed in and taken straight to HDU at Arrowe Park for where my journey got worse and was then transferred to ITU the same one Luke sadly passed away in.
It was there that they told my family that it was Meningitis and that this had then caused a stroke and my family were told it wasn’t looking good.
I was placed in a medically induced coma for 2 weeks on a ventilator in ITU, where I amazed the doctors and started to get better. After those twi weeks I was sent back to HDU and spent a further week or so in there and from there was sent to a stroke rehab centre at Clatterbridge Hospital.
The team on the intensive care unit were amazing with me in told and as they were with my son’s friend. They are angels themselves 💙
Meningitis was a shock to us all and it did cause further complications for me but we were all very shocked that it had come from just an annoying earache.
When I heard my son’s friend, Luke, had passed away with the disease it upset me a lot because I know how devastating it can be to a person and family.
To see my son and his friends help support Luke and his family in raising money for and creating the foundation is truly heartwarming and know it will bring a huge amount of support to families in the same position both of ours found ourselves in.
Christine Harper – LB23
January 2020 – Rio started to feel unwell – eyes hurting, headaches, dizziness, stiffness in her neck this last few days until it became clear she needed to go to see the GP. This GP told Rio it was vertigo and a trapped nerve in neck asked her to take painkillers.
Two weeks later, she was in worse state with unbearable pain. She back and forth to the hospital, numerous times. The doctors said it could be a few different things and it become clear something was not right. The GP requested a MRI and to wait for the results.
February 2020 – Rio started to feel numbness in her arms and legs. By this time, she could not walk kept falling over. This was breaking our hearts to see her in such pain.
Finally she was admitted to hospital – with a lumbar puncture, CT scan and MRI scan all done. She was put straight onto a drip being treated for a brain infection – unfortunately things didn’t seem to be getting better and a week later after seeing a neurologist, they found out that Rio had a blood clot behind the eye, which was causing these complications in the brain.
10th February 2020 – Rio was rushed over to Walton Hospital for an emergency brain operation – being told she might ‘pass away’ and what we endured that night will stay with me forever. I thought was the worst night of our lives and as a family, we waited around the clock to see her beautiful face wake up and she did.
Rio spent 3 weeks in ICU and HDU, while the drain for the pressure was still relieving the pressure. After that, Rio started to feel unwell again and found out that she had contracted Meningitis. We all knew it was as serious as the symptoms had recurred.
Rio had to have spinal operation and lumbar drain placed into her, to give her the best chance of fighting this Meningitis. I though ‘How much more can my sister take’ – all we wanted to do was get her better and home safe.
Rio was a fighter and beat it. She was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She always tried to make us see she was okay when inside we knew she was scared. Rio looked forward to our visits more than anything and that time I will cherish forever.
March 2020 – Rio started to walk after having physio every day and she becoming stronger each day. We were so proud of her, and still are to this day.
Unfortunately, the signs were coming back – Rio knew that the Meningitis was back. Another lumbar puncture proved Rio was right. She knew her body. With another IV drip in place, another fight was won after a few weeks.
By this time, COVID-19 had started to make an impact on our visiting – which devastated us as a family. We are very close as a family with the love we show for each other and the bond is unbreakable. So to know Rio was in hospital without us there to help and support her – it destroyed us. I am grateful that our Mum got to go as the ‘one permitted person’ so we had to make do using FaceTime. At least we got to see her beautiful face.
April 2020 – Rio was coming home this month, after a long 11 weeks in hospital and prolonged antibiotics to keep the Meningitis away. We thought that this nightmare should be over soon and she’d be on the road to recovery. This time Mum wasn’t allowed to visit her, but we all video called and kept Rio’s spirits up.
11th April 2020 – The day our beautiful Rio came home. We thought ‘thank god’ – this was the best day, with the relief of having her home and recovering. We were so proud of her.
13th April 2020 – Just over 48 hours later, after a video call with our Auntie Sandra and Mum – Me and Rio were laughing, joking, talking about lockdown you name it, we spoke about it. The spirits were high and we were looking forward to lockdown being over, so I could finally give her a hug and she could see her Niece and Nephew who missed her like crazy.
Unfortunately, Rio was rushed back into hospital after the symptoms came back vomiting, stiff neck and weak muscles – the Meningitis was back and stronger than ever. Within two hours she was unconscious, put in a induced coma for what felt like the longest 5 days of our lives.
We were begging the doctors, asking if we could we be with her and still nothing. We couldn’t hold her hand, talk to her or nothing! I couldn’t think of something more cruel than this. The devastation this caused our family – the constant waiting for phone calls and praying she would be ok was possibly the worst time in my life.
Unfortunately, Rio passed away with her Mum and Dad by her side on 18th April 2020.
We didn’t get to say our goodbyes. My beautiful sister, daughter, niece and auntie was loved by everyone and this has left a massive hole in our heart and lives. Living without her is unbearable. She was the life and soul of every family occasion – and she loyal to her friends, known as the go to one for advice and we miss her very much.
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