WHEN he was just 16-months-old, David Coates had to fight for his life after contracting meningitis.
But now the 23-year-old is taking on a fight of a different kind with his mum Kathy – 26 miles around London to raise money for the Meningitis Trust as a way of saying thank you to them for their help over the years.
David was struck down with Haemophilus influenzae Type B meningitis and fell into a coma.
He was saved by the expertise of staff at the old Princess Margaret Hospital and amazed doctors by making a full recovery.
Kathy, 49, of Abbey Meads, said: “At the time they didn’t have the vaccine for it and everything we were told was that David wouldn’t survive it, he was expected to die.
“Even if he did survive he would be severely brain damaged or death. But David hasn’t suffered any of that at all, he is fine and healthy like any 23-year-old man.
“I remember everything as if it was yesterday and wishing I could swap places with him.
“It really was a parent’s worst nightmare and to be honest it changed our lives and it put everything into perspective.
“We are a lot closer as a family as a result.”
David had been fine the day before he was taken to hospital, but by the time he arrived at the doctors’, surgery he had already fallen into a coma.
Kathy immediately rushed the toddler to casualty, just as his lips began to go purple.
Doctors carried out a number of tests and examinations before telling Kathy that her son had meningitis.
After a week in the hospital’s intensive care unit, David made a miraculous recovery with no side effects whatsoever.
Kathy said: “It’s something you never forget and David wouldn’t be here now if the staff at PMH hadn’t reacted so speedily.
“They were fantastic and we were very lucky.”
Following the ordeal, the family held a charity football game at the County Ground involving Town legend Don Rogers to raise £3,000 for PMH’s intensive care unit.
Now Kathy and David, who ran the Swindon Half Marathon last year, will take on the gruelling 26.2 mile marathon course to each raise £1,600 for the Meningitis Trust.
“We are going to run the whole thing together which means that David will have to wait for me.
“I will finish it,” said Kathy.
“I want to say a big thank you to Sheila and Steve Leppard at the Heart in Hand pub, in Blunsdon, who have been a huge help and without them we wouldn’t have raised half the amount we have raised so far.
“I am hoping people will see us running in the bright yellow T-shirts – which are hard to miss – and donate to a great charity.”
To make a donation to the Meningitis cause, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/coates.