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Family take on Great North Run in Kyle’s memory
A dad whose son died of meningitis when he was just 18 months old will take on the Bupa Great North Run this weekend to help fight the disease.
As well as raising money for the Meningitis Research Foundation, Ian Wilkinson, 52, of Oakworth, Keighley, also hopes to raise awareness of the condition, that can strike without warning and is especially dangerous to babies.
His run coincides with Meningitis Awareness Week, September 16-22.
Kyle died on June 1, 1999, just a few days after falling sick, and it was not until the next day his parents found out the cause.
Mr Wilkinson has backed a campaign by the charity to make more people aware of the disease and its symptoms.
Even if not fatal, meningitis can leave people with life-altering after-effects, ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.
Mr Wilkinson is running tomorrow with his three sons Ryan, 26, Daniel, 25, and Patrick, 23, and wife Karen, 43.
Although not the first time he has raised money for the charity, it is the first time they have taken on a fundraiser as a family.
Mr Wilkinson, a design engineer in CMB in Shipley, said: “He’d had a cold for a few days, nothing out of the ordinary, but we took him to A&E just to get him checked out.
“The next morning, I couldn't wake Kyle and as I reached into his cot I noticed his lips were turning blue. I quickly started mouth to mouth as his breathing was very shallow and he was limp and unresponsive. I phoned an ambulance and he was taken to A&E where he was stabilised before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary.
“Over the course of the next 12-14 hours, we waited and were eventually told that Kyle was not responding to treatment and that brain stem tests had been carried out indicating that it was the machine he was hooked up to that was keeping him alive.
“We spent another hour with him before saying goodbye. The machine was switched off and he died in my arms.
“When he died, Meningitis Research were the first people we contacted and they were very supportive – they helped put us in touch with other people.
“The important thing is making people aware of the condition – it can kill and kill quickly. More awareness could save lives.”
He added: “This is the first race I’ve run. Before this, I couldn’t run to the end of my road without wanting to stop and rest.”
To sponsor the family, visit justgiving.com/IanWilkinson5150