Washington meningitis survivor Vivienne walks again

Standing tall......Meningitis victim Vivienne Bell of Washingon, who lost her fingers and legs to the disease. She is now able to walk after being fitted with prosthetic legs.
Standing tall......Meningitis victim Vivienne Bell of Washingon, who lost her fingers and legs to the disease. She is now able to walk after being fitted with prosthetic legs.
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A MIRACLE mum who twice beat meningitis has taken her first steps with prosthetic limbs after losing her legs to the deadly bug.

Vivienne Bell, 60, was described by medics as “97 per cent dead” as she lay comatose in a hospital bed.

File pic

File pic

Now, her life has been transformed after she was fitted with the specially-designed limbs, even dancing on nights out with her friends.

The former hairdresser, of Concord, Washington, is also hoping to learn to drive once her treatment is complete.

“The difference is amazing,” she said.

“The legs have taken a while to get used to.

“Although they were specially designed for me, it was a strange feeling having them fitted and they were a bit heavy.

“But I can now wear them for up to five hours a day and I can do things I thought I’d never be able to do again.

“I’ve even been dancing with my friends.”

The mum-of-three was first struck down by the disease in 1983. After seven weeks in hospital, she successfully beat it – only for it to return in 2008.

“This has been my third Christmas since I last had meningitis and I can honestly say I have never felt as well,” she said.

“I’m hoping to undergo my final operation soon.

“I’m feeling a lot more confident and I’ve got much more independence.

“I can go out in the garden and play with my young granddaughter.

“I’m even hoping to learn to drive at some point.”

Diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis following her previous battle with the viral form of the disease, Mrs Bell spent nine weeks in an induced coma while she was prescribed numerous drugs.

She later had to have her legs amputated, with the bug also robbing her of a hand and fingers.

Vivienne, whose 64-year-old husband Richard is her full-time carer, said: “Our whole lives changed when I got meningitis.

“I was 97 per cent dead when they took me in.

“I still have mountains to climb. I’ve had operation to improve my movement and skin, but I’m well over the healing stage.

“We’re both feeling a lot more positive about the future.

“We’re able to get on with our lives.”