A seven-year-old from Colne who had both legs amputated due to meningitis has teamed up with a national charity to help fight back against the devastating disease.
Louie Jenkins was just five months old when he contracted meningococcal septicaemia, spending two weeks in intensive care and 11 weeks in hospital, where both of his legs were amputated below the knee as well as the fingers on his left hand and the fingertips on his right as a result of the infection, which affects between 400 and 1,200 people in England each year.
Now involved in this year’s Meningitis Now's Toddle Waddle, Louie - who now wears prosthetic legs - is hoping to help raise funds through short sponsored walks and encourage other families, nurseries, and toddler groups to sign up and hold their own event to raise awareness and funds, with all the money helping Meningitis Now to save lives and rebuild futures through research, awareness, and support.
“Louie had gone to bed as normal but woke up a few hours later and was generally grizzly and fussing," said Louie's mum, Julie Green. "Throughout the course of the night he was sick and then, at about 2am, I noticed two spots on his chest.
“Within a minute of finding these he went grey and floppy and I called an ambulance," she added. "By the time this arrived at hospital the rash had spread all over his body."
Since then, the family have received "amazing support" from Meningitis Now according to Julie, who said: “Meningitis Now [have] provided us with financial grants, counselling, family information, and fun days, and an excellent connection to other agencies who have been able to offer their expertise and help over the years.”
Now out to do his best to get involved with the initiative during National Waddle Week from June fourth to June 10th, Louie features in the charity’s Toddle Waddle pack, where his likeness has been captured by top illustrator Rebecca Canavan, who drew Louie at the seaside because, as Julie explained: “When he was younger he had skin-coloured prosthetics and we always giggled at the beach about turning them upside down in the sand and looking like he was buried.”
Carrie Bater, Community Fundraiser at Meningitis Now, said: “Toddle Waddle is one of our favourite fundraisers which over the last three years has raised nearly £100,000 towards our lifesaving and life-changing work.
“We’re especially pleased this year to have the support of the children – and their families of course – and grateful to them for sharing their stories," Carrie added of the Toddle Waddle, which comes with a free pack of ideas and online resources. "They really show why it’s so important to do everything we can to tackle this brutal disease.
“Sadly, babies, toddlers and children under five are most at risk of meningitis – over half of all cases are within this age group. Every penny raised by our Toddle Waddlers will help save lives and rebuild the futures of those affected."
But Meningitis Now are proving that their invaluable work can make the world of difference, with Louie himself saying: “Meningitis Now helps me make friends who are just like me.”
For more information, head to www.toddlewaddle.co.uk or call the Meningitis Now team on 01453 768 000.