A heartbroken mum who lost her son to deadly meningitis last November has launched a national charity’s Christmas Ribbon Appeal.
Katie Joyce had to take the agonising decision to turn her 4-year-old son Enzo’s life support machine off after scans showed the disease had left the youngster – the happiest and most bubbly boy Katie ever knew – brain dead.
“This will be our second Christmas without Enzo”, she said. “I still ask myself how it could have happened to my family.
“One minute I was at home with my baby thinking he had a simple cold and the next I was being told something no mother should ever hear.”
Katie is supporting charity Meningitis Now’s annual ribbon appeal, which offers everyone the chance to remember their loved ones at Christmas and donate to fight back against the devastating disease. Families affected by meningitis but not bereaved are also invited to support the appeal.
A white ribbon, inscribed with their loved one’s name, is placed on the Tree of Remembrance at Meningitis Now’s annual Christmas concert in Gloucester Cathedral. The family also receives a second white ribbon for their tree at home.
“I know Enzo wouldn’t want me to give up, so we will have presents, we will have a tree and his white ribbon will be on it,” Katie added. “My little boy will always be in my heart.”
Katie added: “After I lost Enzo, Meningitis Now was there for me and my family. They helped us find the strength to carry on.
“In the early days, just having someone there to listen on the end of the line meant so much.
“The ongoing emotional support has been so important to me too.”
Tom Nutt, Meningitis Now’s chief executive, said: “We know that Christmas can be a difficult time as many of us remember those who are no longer with us.
“Meningitis doesn’t respect this special time of year either. Twenty-two families every day throughout the festive period will feel its impact, with some lives being changed forever.
“Please support our Christmas Ribbon Appeal and help us to keep fighting this terrible disease and be there for Katie and other families who need our support, at Christmas-time and throughout the year.”
All donations go towards the charity’s ongoing lifesaving and life-changing work, funding research into vaccines and prevention, raising awareness so people know what to look for and what action to take if they suspect meningitis and rebuilding futures by providing dedicated support to people living with the impact of the disease.
Meningitis Now is working towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need.