Fam­ily’s thanks af­ter son fights killer virus

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE ROPER

AMUM whose son con­tracted a rare form of menin­gi­tis has spo­ken of the heart­break­ing mo­ment she was told to “pre­pare for the worst”.

Jake Hil­ton, 17, of Craig Road, was in a coma for four days af­ter con­tract­ing a life-threat­en­ing form of pneu­mo­coc­cal menin­gi­tis, a rare bac­te­rial strain of the dis­ease.

His mum, Justine Bar­low, and dad, Tony Hil­ton, were warned he may not wake up af­ter he was taken to Step­ping Hill Hos­pi­tal’s in­ten­sive care unit.

Justine, 44, who is also mum to Cal­lum, 18, and Sa­vanna, 11, said: “I was petrified.

“The doc­tors told us he may not sur­vive, and if he did he would prob­a­bly be brain dam­aged and wouldn’t be walk­ing out the same per­son as he was when he came in.

“One minute he was this big, strong 6ft tall lad and the next you’re be­ing told he might not walk out. It’s heart­break­ing.”

Jake, who is a stu­dent at Rease­sheath Col­lege, was stay­ing with his 16-yearold girl­friend Scar­lett Luby and her fam­ily in Prest- bury when be­gan feel­ing poorly.

He woke up with a se­vere headache and nau­sea and be­gan hav­ing con­vul­sions.

He was rushed to Step­ping Hill Hos­pi­tal and was di­ag­nosed with the life-threat­en­ing strain of menin­gi­tis fol­low­ing a brain scan and lum­bar punc­ture – where spinal fluid is taken from the spine.

But the brave teenager ral­lied and af­ter 13 days of treat­ment by the unit’s staff, was ready to go home.

Justine said: “He walked out of in­ten­sive care, which the doc­tors said they’d never seen be­fore with a case so se­ri­ous.

“I think with­out the quick think­ing of his girl­friend Scar­lett and the Step­ping Hill staff he would have died.”

Now, to say thanks, the fam­ily are rais­ing as much money as pos­si­ble for the in­ten­sive care unit.

Justine added: “Ev­ery sin­gle mem­ber of staff was fan­tas­tic. The care they gave was out of this world.”

Speak­ing on the Just­giv­ing web­site, Jake said: “My­self and all my fam­ily feel so eter­nally grate­ful to all the hard work­ing staff within the ICU at Step­ping Hill, a thank you just doesn’t seem enough!”

Jake’s sis­ter, who is a pupil at Ivy Bank Pri­mary School, has al­ready done her bit to raise funds with the help of her Year six class­mates (see be­low).

And Jake’s un­cle An­to­nio Cuenca Bar­bero is tak­ing part in the Mor­risons Great Birm­ing­ham Run in Oc­to­ber to raise funds for the unit.

To do­nate visit just­giv­ing.com/justinebar­low.

17-year-old Jake Hil­ton with dad Tony and mum Justine, who are spear­head­ing a fundrais­ing cam­paign for the hos­pi­tal which saved his life. Right: Jake with his girl­friend Scar­lett Luby at his school’s sum­mer ball


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