Block A, Centre House
Thursday 26th April 2012
A meningitis survivor is to attempt a 21-mile sponsored swim to help fund research into the illness.
Michael Smethurst, 58, wants to help save future generations from meningitis by completing the swim, equivalent to crossing the English Channel, at Europa Pool, near his home on the Wirral.
Michael survived meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia in February 2009. At first, Michael thought he had the flu and stayed in bed where he felt progressively worse. His wife Jacqueline returned home to find him incoherent. Michael was unable to support his own weight and fell over, breaking his wrist.
The ambulance crew rang ahead from Michael's home to Arrowe Park Hospital and asked for a specialist team to be ready to receive him after noticing the septicaemic rash on his arms. Michael's wife and their three daughters, Anna, 29, Jenny, 28, and Lucy, 26, stood at his bedside for a week praying for him to recover while he fought the disease.
Now, Michael is to take on his swimming challenge on May 1 to raise money for Meningitis UK which works to develop preventative vaccines.
Michael, a merchandise specialist for TK Maxx, said: "My family went through hell while I was in hospital. It was only recently that I learned just what a worrying time it was for them.
"Now I know more about the disease and how many people it can kill and limb loss it can cause, I appreciate just how lucky I am to be here. I look at life differently now and don't let things worry me so much.
"Doing this swim will help me psychologically in the recovery process as I will be doing something positive to help vaccine research to save others. I don't care how long it takes me, I will see this swim through to the end and I am so grateful for the tremendous support of my family, friends and colleagues and Europa Pool."
Kate Rowland, Meningitis UK chief executive, said: "We are extremely grateful to Michael for his support and for being so determined to take on this challenge and raise vital funds to help the scientists we fund to continue their groundbreaking vaccine research."
To support Meningitis UK's Search 4 A Vaccine campaign call 0117 9476320.
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