A MUM whose son died of meningitis just weeks short of his first birthday is ploughing her efforts into raising awareness of the disease in babies.
Parents Nicole and Brent Stokes were devastated when Harry died of Group B Streptococcus meningitis.
The tot, who was born on July 18, 2011, suffered brain damage and other side-effects from meningitis, and died on August 6 last year.
Since then Nicole, 30, of Springwell, has been raising awareness of the disease.
She said: “I can remember the midwife asking: are you Group Strep B positive, and I asked her what’s that? She said to me ‘you won’t be if you don’t know what it is.’ Those words rattle round in my brain because I obviously did have it.
“It’s very important to raise awareness of all forms of meningitis, including Group B Strep, as some are better known than others and we need to talk about them.
“We are backing the awareness trailer tour as it’s one way to help generate awareness and get people talking about the disease.
“There is a jab you can get, which costs just £18 – and I want pregnant woman to know about it as it can help prevent meningitis. If I had known about it I would have got it.”
Nicole visited Asda, Leechmere, alongside Meningitis UK director Steve Dayman as part of the trailer tour. The pair handed out leaflets and wallet-sized symptom cards to start the roadshow.
Mr Dayman, who founded Meningitis UK after his 14-month-old son Spencer died of the disease in 1982, said: “Group B Strep is a form of meningitis associated with newborns and very young babies. The bacteria lives harmlessly in the birth canal and can be passed on to the baby, and sometimes it can develop into Group B Strep. It can strike as babies have undeveloped immune systems, which is one reason why our sole focus is finding vaccines to prevent all forms of meningitis.”