AFTER two of her children suffered from a life-threatening illness, a mother from Southamp-ton is supporting a charity which helps thousands of patients.
Catherine Darling has spent the past two years helping two of her sons to recover from having meningitis after they contracted the disease within five months of each other.
The 23-year-old mother-of-four from Millbrook was on her own taking care of Jacob, now three, and Tyler, now four, after they were diagnosed with the rare disease meningococcal septicaemia, also known as meningitis type b, where the illness reaches the blood system.
Catherine, Jacob and Tyler with brothers Leroy, six, and eight-month-old Lucas
Now Tyler has arthritis in his knees and although Jacob’s symptoms were difficult to identify and doctors insisted that he had chicken pox at first, the meningitis has left him becoming extremely ill very quickly, having had chicken pox twice, shingles, bird flu, and hand, foot and mouth disease.
So Catherine, who left her job in sales to take care of her children, has decided to raise money for a charity which helps children like hers with a family fun day.
Touch and go She said: “It was really hard and so stressful because I was still working at that time and am a single parent.
“Tyler was so ill that he would sleep for five days straight and not even look at me. It was really touch and go at one point.
“People just assume that because it’s a rare disease we are OK but it is a horrible illness and there needs to be more awareness and research into it.”
The fun day will be in aid of Meningitis Now, which supports people struggling with the illness by funding research and vaccines.
Catherine’s event will be on Saturday, August 30, from 11am to 4pm in Mansel Park Pavilion, also known as the MP3, in Evenlode Road, Millbrook where there will be a barbecue and refreshments, a bouncy castle, stalls for a jumble sale and music.