A DAD is embarking on a gruelling 300-mile bike ride to say thank you to a meningitis charity that supported the family when their baby son was fighting for his life.
Chris Copeman, of March, is cycling from London to Paris to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation. He sets off on Sunday with eight of his work colleagues from the Health and Safety Executive and they hope to arrive in Paris on Friday, May 18.
Chris said the foundation helped him, wife Sadie and daughter Libby, now 11, to understand the severity of the illness that had struck three-month-old Harry and were always there to support them.
Harry is now a mischievous six-year-old, with no sign of how seriously ill he was as a baby.
He contracted pneumococcal meningitis, a less common form of meningitis that is caused by bacteria infecting the fluid that cushions the brain.
Chris said when he initially became unwell, they were told to give him paracetamol. However, when they couldn’t wake him, their doctor sent him to hospital as his heart was beating fast.
“We didn’t even consider meningitis. Luckily, our local doctor was very good and we managed to get it in time. The hospital told us that if it had been a day later, his condition would have been much more serious.”
As it was, Harry had to spend a week in intensive care and a total of three weeks in hospital before being allowed home. He has since made a full recovery.
Chris is feeling positive about his marathon cycle ride, despite only having a few weeks training behind him. He has given special thanks to The Cycle Shop, in Nene Parade, for their help with some of his equipment.
• If you would like to donate to Chris’ fundraising appeal, go to www.justgiving.com/chris-copeman