Every child is a blessing: they’re innocent and pure, and have nothing but potential ahead of them.
That’s why there are few tragedies more devastating than the loss of a child.
And for one mom from the U.K., Lizzie Allen, the pain is especially acute.
Allen fought through sixteen miscarriages before she finally conceived her baby girl, then lost her to meningitis: a devastating, fast-moving illness that stole her in just six hours.
Now, she’s doing everything she can to honor her baby girl named Fleur-Rose, and to educate other parents about the dangers of meningitis.
In babies and toddlers, the symptoms of meningitis are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
- Listlessness or difficulty waking
- Refusing food
If you know a baby or toddler experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Scroll through below to learn more about Fleur-Rose’s heartbreaking story and what you can do to identify meningitis early.
Little Fleur-Rose Allen was the very definition of a miracle baby.
Mom Lizzie Allen told PA Real Life:
“I had 16 unexplained miscarriages in six years before she was born.
“Time after time, I experienced heartbreak. Then, finally, she was there.
“She arrived early and weighed just 4 lbs., but she was a miracle.”
Doctors initially feared that little Fleur-Rose would be disabled from her difficult pre-term birth, but she was perfect.
Allen describes her, saying, “She was a cheeky thing. Friendly, giggly and so well-behaved.”
For parents Lizzie and Matt, she was the light of their lives, and quickly grew into a bubbly, sunny 15-month-old.
Allen knew something was wrong right away when she came in to wake up her little ray of sunshine one morning this past April, and found her crying and fussy, with a low fever.
Assuming she had a mild bug of the kind toddlers pick up easily, Allen gave her water and some Calpol, a syrup similar to Tylenol used to treat mild pain and fever.
But the mild bug quickly turned into something far worse when Fleur-Rose’s fever spiked.
Her low fever quickly turned dangerously high. She had a seizure from the high temperature and was rushed to the hospital just a few hours after waking up sick.
But shortly after arriving at the hospital, Fleur-Rose seemed to get better, perking up and playing a bit.
She was vomiting, but hospital staff weren’t concerned because she seemed so chipper.
But while she was playing in the early afternoon, she was steadily getting worse.
She wasn’t put on antibiotics or tested for meningitis when she arrived at the hospital, so when her symptoms suddenly grew worse that night, the medical staff had lost any advantage they should have gained from the Allens’ fast action of bringing her for treatment.
Fleur-Rose was finally given an antibiotic at 5:30 pm, but it was too late.
She suffered the first of four cardiac arrests at 6 p.m. that night.
She was resuscitated three times, but after her fourth heart attack, there was nothing more to be done.
Fleur-Rose passed away at 11 o’clock at night, less than 24 hours after first showing symptoms.
Doctors took samples after she passed on and discovered that the tot had been suffering from a strain of bacterial meningitis, an extremely virulent and fast-acting form of the disease.
Meningitis causes swelling in the brain, and when it comes on quickly — as bacterial meningitis often does — it is extremely lethal.
In Fleur-Rose’s case, she was too young to explain her symptoms, and her doctors didn’t interpret them correctly.
Now, her mom Lizzie Allen is on a mission to make sure more parents are aware of the symptoms and dangers of bacterial meningitis.
She has raised an equivalent of nearly $15,000 dollars for Meningitis Now, an organization that sponsors education and research around meningitis.
She wants to do everything she can to help other parents identify the symptoms before it’s too late.
To learn how you can help, check out Meningitis Now, and don’t forget to SHARE for any friends with young children!