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Raise heart rates to remember Kelsey

PUBLISHED: 10:09 23 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:09 23 April 2014

Archant

The best friend of a mum who lost her daughter to meningitis invites people to raise their heart rate at a pink-themed fitness fundraiser to remember the youngster

Five-year-old Kelsey Smart, of Bristol, sadly lost her battle with meningitis and septicaemia on February 28, 2012.

Colour pink-loving Kelsey first became ill three days before, was unable to eat and was tired, although alert.

The Park Primary School, Kingswood, pupil developed a rash on her stomach, which her mum Hannah initially thought might be chicken pox.

Hannah took Kelsey to emergency GP service Frendoc, where she was examined and told to see her doctor in the morning.

Kelsey was taken to her local GP surgery and her mum was told her daughter just had a bug, and to return at 4pm if her condition did not improve.

But Kelsey deteriorated over the morning, so Hannah rushed her to Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Despite operating to remove fluid on Kelsey’s brain, the youngster succumbed to the disease.

Hannah said: “We arrived at hospital and within five hours were told that nothing could be done to save her.

“Meningitis destroyed our lives in such a short time – we miss Kelsey every day.

“Kelsey was fit, healthy and bright – meningitis can strike anyone at any time.”

Hannah and dad Jamie made the brave decision to donate Kelsey’s organs so up to six children could be helped.

She said: “We will always remember Kelsey and just want to keep her name alive in everyone’s hearts.

“We’re determined to help fight the disease in her memory.”

Since her passing Kelsey’s family and friends have fundraised for Meningitis Now to help eradicate the horrific disease.

Hannah’s best friend of more than a decade, Jamie Brittain, of Bath, is organising a zumbathon at Kingswood Leisure Centre, Church Road, Staple Hill, on Saturday, April 26.

Jamie, 26, who was present at Kelsey’s birth, is asking everyone to wear something pink – Kelsey’s favourite colour – and has two professional Zumba teachers.

The event runs from 4pm to 6pm and entry is £5, which goes to Meningitis Now.

Jaime, who grew up in Kingswood, said: “It’ll be a great chance to remember Kelsey – we will wear pink because it was her favourite colour.

“I hope as many people as possible come and help fight the dreaded disease in her name.”

Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, who launched the UK’s meningitis movement after losing his baby Spencer to the disease in 1982, has supported the family since Kelsey’s passing.

He added: “What happened to Kelsey shows how meningitis can strike fast, often without warning.

“I’m touched by everyone’s determination to remember Kelsey and wish Jamie the best with the zumbathon.

“Every penny raised will help fight the disease on all fronts – fund pioneering preventative research, raise awareness and support survivors and their families.”

Meningitis Now formed after Bristol-based Meningitis UK and Meningitis Trust, founders of the meningitis movement, merged in 2013.

For more information on the zumbathon, email jaylouisecook@yahoo.co.uk.

For more information on meningitis, visit www.MeningitisNow.org.

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