A DOTING dad is taking on the Great Eastern Run after his brave “little lass” spent most of her early days in hospital battling meningitis.
Jessica Marsden, from Moulton Chapel, was born on November 8, 2011.
Her parents Rob Marsden and Tracey Earth became worried when she became lethargic and started high-pitch crying by ten days old.
They called NHS Direct, which in turn put them in contact with their local out-of-hours GP.
Not taking a chance, the GP called an ambulance and within 20 minutes Jessica was en route to Peterborough City Hospital.
She had a painful lumbar puncture and was diagnosed with Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and septicaemia by the morning.
Jessica bravely battled GBS with the help of antibiotics in hospital for two weeks and returned home.
However, she had an increased head circumference and was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where an MRI scan revealed she had fluid on the brain, on January 3.
They installed a reservoir to drain the fluid and her condition began improving.
She presently has a slight swelling and doctors are monitoring her case as Jessica grows.
Now the couple hope to spread awareness and help Meningitis UK find a vaccine to protect future generations from the disease.
Rob (38) said: “Our lovely daughter Jessica is literally the bravest person we know.
“She’s spent far too much of her young life in hospital and has already endured more pain and hardship than most of us stand to in a lifetime.
“It’s sickening that Jessica could have been spared the pain as there are tests available to detect GBS.
“We still won’t know the outcome of the disease and subsequent hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) that Jessica has for a number of years.
“Health professionals must be aware of the disease and we have told friends who have fallen pregnant to ask questions of their doctors.”
Rob is training hard for 13.1-mile Great Eastern Run in Peterborough on October 14 and recently completed the 10km Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield.
Rob, who is Spalding Squash and Racketball Club’s league secretary, said: “Running both is going to be one hell of a challenge, but simply I’m doing it for a great cause.
“We want to do all we can to spare other parents from the pain and suffering we have had to go through.”
Rob has already raised £1,455.80. To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/ROB-MARSDEN.