Sisters to take on run in the battle against meningitis

ON THE RUN Sisters Danielle Jeffery and Joanne Moore who are running in the Great South Run to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation after their mum contracted the desease and survived. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (122045-4)

ON THE RUN Sisters Danielle Jeffery and Joanne Moore who are running in the Great South Run to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation after their mum contracted the desease and survived. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (122045-4)

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SISTERS Danielle Jeffery and Joanne Moore are lacing up their trainers to take part in the Great South Run – for their mum.

Mum Anita Whitton, 53, survived meningitis last year.

She thought she had flu but was rushed to hospital later the same day after she was found unconscious in her home.

The 53-year-old was also diagnosed with encephalitis and spent two weeks in intensive care before she awoke and started to recognise the family.

Now to mark her survival from the disease and to raise cash for charity the sisters have decided to take on the 10-mile run in Southsea.

Danielle said: ‘She was in such a bad way that doctors were telling us hour by hour if they thought she was going to make it through to the next hour.

‘The whole thing was very scary and unexpected.

‘Losing your parents is something that you expect to happen at some point but we had never anticipated we might be going through it while she was still so young, it just didn’t feel like it was her time to go.’

The sisters and other family members took it in turns to sit by Anita’s side until she woke.

Now she has recovered, Danielle and Joanne want to raise awareness of the illness, which more commonly effects young children and babies.

Danielle added: ‘We want people to know that this isn’t an illness that only effects the young or the sick – mum was very fit and healthy before this, she’d even ran the Great South Run before.

‘And we want people to be aware of the symptoms and how similar they are to flu.

‘Most people associated the rash with meningitis, but that is one of the last symptoms to appear and the illness could be well developed by the time the rash appears.’

In a bid to raise awareness, and generate funds, the pair have signed up to take part in the Great South Run on behalf of the charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

They are now running around four times a week, and clocking up three miles each time they go out, in preparation for the 10 mile run on October 28.

Chris Head, chief executive at MRF, said: ‘We rely on voluntary donations to fund our vital work into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia, so every pound raised by taking part in this event will make a huge difference and enables us to continue our work.

‘We are extremely grateful to Danielle and Joanne for their fantastic efforts and wish them well for the race – we’ll be there on the day cheering them on.’

To donate, see justgiving.com/DanielleandJoanne or for more on meningitis see meningitis.org

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