After her sister fought off a deadly viral disease, a Leeds woman is taking on the Great North Run in a bid to raise awareness of its symptoms.
Louise Porter, who lives in Morley, rushed to her family’s Shropshire home after finding out that her younger sister Kate had gone from having the symptoms of a cold to struggling to walk in just hours after contracting viral meningitis.
After two and a half weeks in hospital, her sister fought off the illness but it took her around five months to fully recover, prompting Louise to run Sunday’s half marathon in the North East to raise vital funds for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).
The 38-year-old transport planner said: “From when she got meningitis she went from being absolutely fine and feeling like she had a cold to being seriously ill in hours.
“She herself knew she had symptoms of meningitis which is why she sought help, so it was lucky and if she hadn’t have done that it could have been much worse.”
She said that Kate’s illness came at a time when swine flu was in the news two years ago but after noticing a rash, Kate feared it could be meningitis.
Following tests Kate was eventually told that she had potentially deadly viral meningitis, which can lead to the loss of limbs, brain damage and memory loss, so Louise rushed down to be at her side.
Louise said: “By the time she got to hospital she couldn’t look into any bright lights, she could hardly stand up.
“If people know what to look out for they will seek treatment more quickly – lots of kids get it and if parents know the symptoms they will get treatment quicker.”
It is thought that Kate may have contracted the virus after having an epidural.
Having already raised £300, Louise has thrown herself into three months of training to back the MRF, which funds work into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia.
Chris Head, chief executive at the MRF, said: “Every pound raised by taking part in this event will make a huge difference and enables us to continue our work.”
Visit: www.justgiving.com/Louise-Porter4 or www.meningitis.org to donate.