THE mum of brave meningitis victim Robbie Jones is backing a new charity campaign to help battle the disease.
The four-year-old fought back from the brink of death after he was struck down by the brain bug as a toddler.
Both his legs were amputated, as well as the tips of his fingers on his left hand, after his parents woke to find him covered in black and blue bruise-like marks, which they thought was an allergy.
Today, his mother Jill urged fund-raisers to join the Big Dunkathon Coffee Break in aid of the Meningitis Trust.
Organised by the charity, the drive on March 4 is expected to raise up to £100,000 through sponsored coffee breaks held up and down the country.
“We really want as many people as possible to take part,” said Jill, 30. “It is a fantastic charity and deserves all the support it can get.”
Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, can strike quickly and kill within hours.
Each year there are about 2,500 cases in the UK of bacterial meningitis and an estimated 5,000 cases of viral.
Those most at risk are children under five, young people, 15 to 24, and adults over 55.
After responding well to treatment since he was diagnosed with the disease in 2008, Robbie is now walking on prosthetic limbs.
“Robbie is doing great now, he is walking on his own, but I can still remember what he was like when he was diagnosed with meningitis,” said mum-of two Jill, from Bowburn, near Durham City.
The Meningitis Trust, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, helps more than 20,000 people every year whose lives have been devastated by the disease.
As well as its range of free services and community-based support, the charity is also dedicated to raising life-saving awareness of meningitis and its symptoms.
Samantha Porter, event organiser at the trust, said: “Coffee Break is one of the simplest ways to raise funds.
“All you need to do is charge for every biscuit and drink sold, then sit back, have a gossip and enjoy.
“The Dunkathon is just an exciting twist to add to your coffee break.
“We have set up a You Tube channel for people to upload their dunking videos to, with the winner for the longest dunk getting a year’s supply of biscuits.”
To register, call the Meningitis Trust on 0845 120 4530, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.dunkathon.org