Meningitis survivors’ family fundraiser in Tilgate Park

The Burnell family from Crawley held the Toddle Waddle in Tilgate Park to raise money for Meningitis Now - picture submitted by Jo-anna Burnell
The Burnell family from Crawley held the Toddle Waddle in Tilgate Park to raise money for Meningitis Now - picture submitted by Jo-anna Burnell

A family, two of whom survived meningitis two years ago have led a toddlers’ sponsored walk around Tilgate Park.

Two years ago dad Martin Burnell contracted the disease just two weeks after his second child, Blake, had been born.

A week later, after Martin was allowed home, doctors confirmed Blake had caught it.

Fully recovered and determined to give something back to those who supported them through their challenge, the family from Pease Pottage organised a ‘Toddle Waddle’ to the charity Meningitis Now.

Blake and mum Jo-anna were joined by many other parents and toddlers aged six months to two years at the event on October 16.

Jo-anna said: “Almost exactly two years on, we feel so unbelievably grateful that they have both, seemingly, made an almost complete recovery. Not all families are as fortunate as us, which is why we wanted to do our bit to help, by raising some money to support further research.

“Our current fundraising total is £300, but we still have sponsor money trickling in.

“We are so grateful to all our friends and family who supported us when my boys were poorly, but also on the ‘Toddle Waddle’ last week.

“Fourteen little ones arrived with their grown-ups and they walked - mostly - once around the lake dressed in orange or for the ‘Under the Sea’ theme with starfish hats and flags.”

The event also served as a way of raising awareness of the charity. All the children each carried an orange balloon with them and were given a sticker and certificate at the end.

The adults were given an orange ‘Meningitis Now’ wristband.

There is still time to sponsor the Burnell family and friends for their challenge.

Go to the family’s fundraising website

meningitis symptoms

The advice from specialists is to not wait for the rash, to contact a doctor.

There are several other early warning signs of meningitis in both adults and children.

These include a fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet.

Other symptoms are disliking being handled, being drowsy or having difficulty waking, being floppy, unresponsive, having rapid breathing or grunting.

Convulsions or seizures and a dislike of bright lights can also be a tell-tale sign.

For the rash, people can carry out the glass test to check it is meningitis.

To see a video of the test and for more information about the disease go to the

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