Caring boyfriend runs to mark Laura’s recovery

A TEENAGER will take to the streets of St Neots this weekend to mark his girlfriend s recovery from a deadly strain of meningitis. Laura Yarnall, 17, was struck down with bacterial meningitis in September and spent five days in intensive care before stagi

A TEENAGER will take to the streets of St Neots this weekend to mark his girlfriend's recovery from a deadly strain of meningitis.

Laura Yarnall, 17, was struck down with bacterial meningitis in September and spent five days in intensive care before staging a remarkable recovery.

As she lay in Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, doctors told Laura's family that they did not know whether she would live or die.

With her family by her side, Laura battled against the deadly disease and came out of her coma after five days.


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Now, just two months later and after a battle to regain her speech, Laura is back at Longsands College studying for her A-levels.

On Sunday, Laura's boyfriend of two-and-a-half years Tom Ellison, also 17, will take part in the St Neots Half Marathon to raise cash for the Meningitis Trust.

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He said: "I wanted to do something to help raise money and raise awareness about meningitis but I didn't know what.

"Then, I found out of my friend's uncle was helping to organise the race and it all went from there."

Laura's mum Gill, 44, of Whistler Road, Eaton Ford, said: "Tom has been fantastic throughout all of this and has been there for Laura every step of the way.

"It has all happened so quickly, it seems like such a miracle because even after she came out of her coma there was a chance she could have had brain damage."

Gill also paid tribute to the Dr Peter Williams from the Eaton Socon Health Centre who gave Laura an injection of penicillin that may have saved her life.

"She just came home from school one day complaining of a headache," Gill said. "Her temperature kept going and up and up so we called the doctor. He took one look at her, gave her an injection straightaway and told us to dial 999.

"At hospital they told us that injection could have saved her life."

After waking up from her coma Laura was so affected by the disease that she could not speak, read or write - she has just finished a course in speech and language therapy at Hinchingbrooke.

Gill added: "Laura still finds it slightly tough to concentrate and sometimes her short-term memory lets her down but she is our miracle girl.

"The Meningitis Trust is a fantastic cause. Their motto is 'Rebuilding Shattered Lives' - and that is exactly what they do."

Laura said: "Tom just came to me one day and said he was going to run the half-marathon. I think it is great and I am very proud of him - I don't think I could run it!"

INFORMATION: To learn more about meningitis contact Amy Greengrass at the Meningitis Trust on 0845 1204882, or call the free, 24-hour advice line on 0800 0281828. To donate, call 0845 1204989, giving the reference Tom Ellison.

n For further details about the St Neots Half Marathon, see Page 151.

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