Unusual birthday challenge for Kempshott mum who lost brother to meningitis (From Andover Advertiser)
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Unusual birthday challenge for Kempshott mum who lost brother to meningitis
A WOMAN who lost her brother to meningitis has set herself an unusual challenge to mark a milestone birthday.
Elaine Holmes is spending the year leading up to her 50th birthday raising money for Meningitis UK, in memory of her brother Richard Paul Slater, who died aged 46 in 2007.
Recalling how her brother fell fatally ill, Mrs Holmes, a mother-of-one, from Kempshott, Basingstoke, said: “He had a sore throat and cold-like symptoms. He was epileptic as well.
“We think what happened was he left it and left it and then went to the doctors and they said it was a virus. It turned out he had bacterial meningitis. He went into hospital but ended up on a life-support machine.”
Mrs Holmes, who had to take the harrowing decision to turn off her brother’s life-support machine, is now aiming to raise awareness of meningitis, and its symptoms, to prevent other lives being lost.
She said: “Having to turn a machine off of someone you love is not an experience I will ever forget, and I don’t want others to suffer the pain we did.
“So what I want to do is promote awareness of this disease, as many people do not really know the symptoms like they think they do. “I realised this after asking people what they thought the symptoms were and at what point would they seek medical attention.
“The response was quite scary – most people thought it would be if they have a rash appear. The fact is if the rash appears, it could be too late.”
Mrs Holmes, who works for Axa Wealth, has already raised more than £1,000 for Meningitis UK through a quiz night and car boot sale. She hopes to hit £3,000 before her birthday on September 3, and said: “Instead of just having a party or hiding away until it has passed, I wanted to take the opportunity to raise funds for Meningitis UK throughout the whole year.”
She added: “I thought I would do something nice for my brother who I suddenly lost.”
To find out more about the symptoms of meningitis, which include stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, headache and severe lethargy, visit meningitisuk.org, or to donate to Mrs Holmes’ fundraising challenge, visit meningitisuk.tributefunds.com/fund/Richard+Paul+Slater-AKA+DICK+to+his+friends.