THE brother and cousin of a baby boy who died from meningitis are helping others in his memory.
Ross Gant was just one year old when he died after contracting the brain bug 13 years ago.
His brother, Kieren Ferguson, 16, from the Fens, Hartlepool, and cousin, Chloe Hockborn, from the town’s Bishop Cuthbert estate, completed a 10-mile fun run last month in his memory.
The pair ran from the edge of Billingham to the Headland, in Hartlepool, plus an extra mile home, raising £642 for Meningitis UK.
Chloe’s mum and Kieren’s aunt, Joanne Hockborn, 36, said she was very proud of the charity-cash-raising duo.
“They’ve both done brilliantly,” she said. “It was really hard for them because on the day they did it, it was really warm, but they managed to finish the run in just under three hours.”
Joanne, who owns Lewis’s Barber Shop, in York Road, Hartlepool, added: “The pair of them are really close and this charity is obviously something which is very important to them after what happened to Ross all of those years ago. It’s still as important to them now.”
Meningitis UK founder director Steve Dayman, who lost his son to meningitis in 1982, went to the barber’s shop to collect a cheque for the money they had raised.
Mr Dayman said: “We are extremely grateful to Kieren and Chloe for their support – running 10 miles is no mean feat. What happened to Ross highlights the devastation meningitis can cause.
“The money they raised will go towards our Search 4 A Vaccine campaign, funding our pioneering research.
“The disease strikes at terrifying speed and the symptoms are notoriously difficult to spot which is why Meningitis UK is solely focused on finding vaccines to save lives in the future.”
Meningitis UK is encouraging people to trust their instincts and seek urgent medical attention if they suspect the disease.
To request a free symptoms fridge magnet or to find out more about the charity’s Search 4 A Vaccine campaign, call (0117) 9476320 or visit www.meningitisuk.org