Charity fund after Gillingham toddler Willow Bate dies from meningitis
Tragic toddler Willow
Bate, from Gillingham, died from meningitis
by Nicola Jordan
A seemingly healthy 15-month-old girl died from meningitis just
hours after her parents first noticed the killer bug's tell-tale
Devastated Nick Bate, 36, and 31-year-old wife Ruth rushed their
daughter Willow to hospital as soon as they saw blotches appear on
But within an hour, the Gillingham toddler was covered with a
purple rash and doctors diagnosed her with meningococcal
Doctors at Medway Maritime Hospital said she was too sick to be
transferred to a specialist unit at St Thomas' Hospital, in
The "happy, smiling" tot got weaker and weaker, her heart
stopped three times and her family told she could be brain-damaged
if she pulled through.
Her devastated parents were forced to make the agonising
decision not to revive Willow for a fourth time.
She died in the early hours of last Friday morning - just hours
after the rash was first spotted the day before.
Firefighter Nick, a trained first-aider, said: "Until the rash
there were no symptoms, but by then I knew it was too late.
"After her heart stopped the final time, they asked if we wanted
to try again. We said 'no'. That was the hardest thing I have ever
had to do."
The couple have set up a fund to raise money for Meningitis UK,
which pays for research to develop vaccines. Within days, donations
had topped £2,400.
Willow's funeral will be at the Garden of England Crematorium,
Bobbing, on February 1, at 10am.
To make a donation, visit justgiving.com/Ruth-Flaxman.
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