A family are fighting to raise awareness of a fatal form of meningitis following the sudden death of their 23-year-old daughter.
Parents Graeme Burridge, 63, and Gail, 56, of Jubilee Avenue, Whitton, just across the Hounslow border, were devastated when daughter Katherine was rushed to hospital and died within 24 hours of being diagnosed with a life-threatening strain of meningitis on October 14.
However they have been able to seek some comfort in the fact their daughter, who donated her kidney, liver and heart, will help other people survive.
Katherine's death was as a result of pneumococcal meningo-encephalitis, an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.
Now her parents and 26-year-old brother Daniel want people to be more aware of the condition and the fact a vaccine is readily available to young people.
The sad news comes less than two months after Hounslow student, Pawaan Purba, died of an invisible yet deadly strain of meningitis.
Mr Burridge, a retired police officer, said he would have paid thousands of pounds if he knew he could have kept his daughter alive.
“We thought once you go past 20 you are past this. It's completely devastated the family," he said.
“We now know there is a vaccine but you do not get to know about this unless a tragedy happens.
“There are no documents on meningitis or the vaccine available on the wall in doctors' surgeries.
“Four people will survive because of my daughter's death. It gives us some consolation.”
Katherine was a peripatetic learning support assistant looking after terminally ill children at local schools including St Richard's CE Primary School in Ham and Chase Bridge Primary School in Twickenham.
She had been up all night with earache and despite this went to school but was sent home after vomiting.
Her temperature reached 39.3 degrees while at home and she was taken straight to the doctors who said the signs pointed to meningitis.
An ambulance was called and she was rushed to hospital where she was put on life support but died later that day.
Mr Burridge said the family will miss her smile and compassion, adding: “She was very easy to get along with and was a lovely girl.”
Katherine was born in Roehampton, went to school in Twickenham and studied at the University of West London.
She had also been training to be a midwife at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth.
A fundraising page has been set up for people to donate to Meningitis Now, who have helped the family through this tragic time.
In less than two weeks over £2,300 has been raised.
The funeral will be held at Maswell Park Church, Heath Road, Hounslow, at noon on Monday, October 31.
Thereafter the burial service will be held at Twickenham Cemetery, Hospital Bridge Road, Whitton, at 1.30pm.
To donate to Meningitis Now visit Katherine's fundraising page.
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