Gemma Aguilar

Gemma Aguilar

London Marathon


Total raised so far£0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00


Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p]I am honoured to say that I will be running the London Marathon on 28th April 2019 to raise money for Meningitis Now, a charity which I feel is very close to my family. [/p][p]At the age of five, my brother Michael contracted Meningococcal Septicaemia type C. It escalated very quickly. On the Sunday afternoon he had a sore ankle, but by the Monday morning he was too weak to sit up, he had a high temperature, the whites of his eyes were spotted with blood and had a sprinkling of purple spots over his sore ankle. Michael was rushed to St Mary's Hospital in London, and after being there for an hour the rash of purple spots had spread all the way over his legs, this had nurses questioning where the ‘severe bruising’ had come from. [/p][p]At the time, a test for Meningitis took 24 hours, and the drugs took 48 hours to work. The doctors took no chances and treated Michael for Meningitis. He spent a week on life support in the Children's Intensive Care Unit, with eight different IV's going into him. He was sedated and given drugs to paralyse him so that he was totally still. My parents were told to focus on one hour at a time, because his illness was so severe. [/p][p]When speaking to my mum about this she always cries when she tells me that the nurses stopped her singing to five-year-old Michael whilst he was on life support, because he recognised her voice and his heart rate would increase. That same week, the hospital introduced my parent's to a little girl who had multiple amputations to help them mentally prepare for what may happen to Michael, if he were to survive. Both of my parents describe this time as a living nightmare, and say that they had never felt so hopeless. [/p][p]By miracle, Michael survived Meningitis and is now a healthy 26 year old. He made a full recovery without any side effects such as disabilities or amputations. Whilst on life support Michael was entered into a drug trial - my parents only found out years later that Michael had received the drug and not placebo, we will never know for sure whether this was the reason he recovered.[/p][p]After a week on life support at St Mary’s, he was transferred to Stoke Mandeville for physiotherapy so he could learn to walk again. He spent some time at home having a tutor visit him, then some months after this he was back at school part time until he gradually built up to going back full time. [/p][p]For our whole family this was a truly traumatic and devastating time, and though Michael was lucky enough to survive it the memories of this experience still haunt us all. My parent’s understandably cannot talk about it without getting upset, and at the time I was only three and a half, I was put with my grandparents for a week and just remember not understanding what was going on. My parent’s tell me it took quite some time to get back to normal and left each of us emotionally drained and scarred. [/p][p] Having shared my family’s story I hope you will understand why I feel so passionate about Meningitis Now, and why I want to raise as much money as I can for this cause. I know for sure that had my family been aware of this phenomenal charity when we went through this, we would have reached out to them. Meningitis Now offer a wide range of free support all over the UK for individuals and families affected by Meningitis. Their services include counselling and emotional support, creative therapies, financial support and family events. You can find out more about what they do here: [url=][/url] [/p][p]Another thing that I find particularly cruel about this illness is that the under-fives are the most at-risk group, particularly the under-one, and teenagers and young adults are the second most at-risk group. I wouldn’t wish Meningitis on anyone of any age however knowing it is most common in babies and little children absolutely breaks my heart. The after effects can be devastating and I don’t think family should have to face this alone. [/p][p]If you would like to support me to achieve my fundraising target for this amazing charity I would be very appreciative and it will really help spur me on! I have never, EVER, run more than 3.5 miles so this 26.5 mile marathon is going to be a huge challenge! [/p][p]Thanks for reading. [/p][p]Gem x[/p]

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