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Thursday, 10 July 2014

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Family of meningitis victim help Cumbrian youngster disabled by the disease

A family who lost their daughter to meningitis are helping another youngster who was left disabled by the deadly disease.

Lillie_Mai photo
Lillie-Mai Jackson with, from left, Anne and Bobby Glendinning, and Belinda Little

Carlisle schoolgirl Sally Glendinning was 17 when she was struck down by illness in January 2011. The teenager died soon after at the city’s Cumberland Infirmary.

By coincidence a few days later another Cumbrian family almost lost their own daughter to meningitis.

Lillie-Mai Jackson, of Maryport, was just 14 weeks old when she was rushed into hospital. Her family were told on several occasions to say goodbye because doctors did not think she would survive.

The youngster did pull through, but at the cost of an arm and both of her legs.

As her daughter turns two next week, Lillie-Mai’s mum Belinda Little says she has adapted well to her disability, but with it comes the endless expense of having to buy specialist equipment – which is where Sally’s parents stepped in.

Having set up a memorial fund in tribute to their daughter, Anne and Bobby Glendinning wanted to use some of it to help make Lillie-Mai’s life easier.

This week they handed over £400 to pay for a new bed supplied by Maryport furniture store Eddie Shimmings.

It was the first time the two families had met, and Anne said it proved emotional.

“We just wanted to help after hearing about the problems she’s had since the meningitis. She’s been through such a lot already,” she said.

“Meeting her meant a lot to me and Bobby. She’s amazing, the way she runs around on her little stumps – a little treasure. We felt we’d really bonded with her and know Sally would have loved her.

“We didn’t even realise until we met up that Lillie-Mai was in hospital just four days after Sally. After what happened to us it’s just nice to be able to help someone who survived it.”

Belinda said the new bed would be a real help.

“It’s low to the ground to make it easy for Lillie-Mai to get in and out,” she said.

“She turns two next Sunday and is doing absolutely fantastic. She just amazes us.

“It was nice to meet Sally’s parents. Lillie-Mai really took to them. What happened to Sally is such a sad story, it really touched me.”

Both families are also keen to raise awareness of meningitis.

To find out more visit the Sally Glendinning Memorial Trust website at www.carlislemeningitis.com.

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