A tiny baby girl has had all her limbs amputated after being struck down by an almost eradicated form of meningitis.
Kia Gott contracted the extremely rare strain of the condition in September.
Doctors say it is the worst case of meningitis they have seen in 25 years and have had to amputate her limbs in a bid to save her life.
Her aunt Donna Gott, 44, says her traumatised parents, Paul, a 35-year-old self-employed window fitter, and Vikki, 30, are struggling to come to terms with the full extent of her illness.
They have been told Kia could also lose her sight and hearing. In addition she may be left severely brain-damaged after contracting the C strain which was thought to have been almost eradicated in babies aged under 12 months old.
Agonisingly, Kia, who was just nine months old when she first fell ill, had been only months away from being given the Meningitis C vaccine on her first birthday.
Donna said: “She went into hospital on September 23 and the first amputation was about three weeks after that.
“Initially medics thought she had suffered 90% brain damage and was deaf and blind but we think she may have some hearing and they did a light test on her eyes and it’s possible she may have some vision.
“Paul and Vikki are in bits but they have two other children so are having to stay strong for them.”
And the family, who live in Wyke, have been cheered by the wave of kindness which has swept over them from as far away as Australia and New Zealand with best wishes and £36,000 raised so far.
The money will be used to ease financial pressures on the family and allow Paul time to spend at his daughter’s bedside at Leeds General Infirmary where she is being kept in a high dependency unit.
Donna added: “Kia is going to be in the high dependency unit for at least three months and is at risk of sepsis (a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection or injury) and sudden death. So it’s going to be tough getting through these next few days.
“She needs multiple skin grafts, has had some already, faces months of rehabilitation and is on stronger drugs than heroin at the moment.
“I have been to see her and it is very upsetting. She looks like a little teddy bear in her bed.
“But her soul is still there with her little eyes looking out at you.”
And Donna is hoping people will support an online petition aimed at forcing discussion in Parliament as to what age the meningitis vaccine should be administered to children.
Donna said 3,000 people have signed it up but 10,000 signatures are required before that can happen.
But she is pleased that Paul and Vikki’s MP, Bradford South’s Judith Cummins, has written a powerful letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanding the issue be reconsidered.
In it she says: “As a parent myself I can only begin to imagine the devastation that this heartbreaking situation has caused for Kia’s parents, Paul and Vikki as well as her older siblings, Kayden and Elsie and I can certainly appreciate their frustration and, quite frankly, sheer anger that had Kia been given the MenC vaccine at 12-weeks-old her upcoming 1st birthday would be spent at home surrounded by a large and loving extended family instead of facing many more months in hospital where Paul and Vikki keep a constant vigil by her bedside.”
One of Kia’s sisters, Shaunna Sharp, 19, a level 3 Beauty Therapy student at Kirklees College, decided to get her friends in college involved in fundraising.
Her beauty therapy group led a week of fundraising which included a pamper day, drop-in sessions for treatments, make-overs and bun sales.
Staff were also touched and three male staff members were sponsored to have their legs waxed. Altogether the students and staff managed to raise £1,073.
Anyone who has been touched by this story can contribute money to securing Kia’s future – £10,000 is the target – by using this link: https:// www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cheryl-dibbin?utm
And if they wish to sign the petition they can use the link here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/205842 to re-introduce the Meningitis C vaccine for babies aged 12 weeks of age.