Inspirational schoolboy who beat the odds after meningitis ready to help others with big run

Robbie Jones with his sister Alice.
Robbie Jones with his sister Alice.
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An inspirational schoolboy who beat the odds after being diagnosed with meningitis is set to raise awareness about the disease by taking part in the Junior Great North Run.

Robbie Jones, now aged nine, had to have both of his legs amputated after contracting meningitis aged just 21 months.

Robbie Jones.

Robbie Jones.

He was given just a 5% chance of survival, his heart stopped five times and his family were told to expect the worst.

Doctors at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary were forced to remove both of his legs, below the knee of his left leg and the right above the knee, as well as the tips of his fingers.

Robbie, from Carville, Durham, spent eight weeks in hospital, two of which were in intensive care, before making an incredible recovery.

He was given the chance to walk again with prosthetic legs, and then had his life transformed with a new pair of artificial limbs which allowed him to take part in PE classes, football and judo.

Robbie Jones when he was in hospital.

Robbie Jones when he was in hospital.

He now hopes to complete the Junior Great North Run in September with his older sister Abbie.

Robbie's grandmother, Sandra Graham, has taken part in eight Great North Runs, and raised money for Robbie and Meningitis Research in one of them. Robbie now wants to do something similar.

Sandra, 56, said: “When Robbie became unwell, it was a huge shock to us and we were completely devastated.

“He had such a little chance of survival we were told to prepare for the worst. His fingers had turned purple and his feet were like charcoal.

“Removing his limbs was the only option but every day he amazes and inspires us.

“I was a keen runner myself and always liked to do the Great North Run but as I am now unable to, I asked if Robbie and Abbie would like to do the Junior this year.

“It will be lovely to see Robbie and Abbie taking part in something together and to try and raise money for a great cause.”

In 2008, Robbie’s parents woke to find him covered in blue and black marks, which they thought was an allergy.

Doctors diagnosed him with one of the worst cases of group B meningococcal septicaemia that they had ever seen.

The local community rallied round Robbie and helped contribute to the prosthetic legs he received that allowed him to be able to walk again.

The Junior and Mini Great North Run is the UK’s most popular children’s running event and will take place on the Newcastle Quayside, the day before the world’s biggest half marathon, the Great North Run.

Robbie and Abbie will join 6,000 children at the event on Saturday, September 10, which has now reached capacity.

They will support Meningitis Research, in a campaign to provide free meningitis vaccinations to all children.

Sandra added: “Robbie really loves sports so it will be great to see him take part in the event with lots of other children.

“He got fitted with special prosthetic legs that help him take part in sports at school and this is due to be renewed soon.

“Hopefully one day he will be able to take part in a run on prosthetics, but for now it’s just as important to be able to join in with his sister by his side.

“Offering free vaccinations is something that we all feel really strongly about. Robbie and his mum even took a petition to Downing Street to support this.

“Babies are offered it from birth now but if you are over a certain age you have to pay almost £200 for it.

“Robbie is doing brilliantly but we don’t want other families to go through what we did.”