Harleston man to walk Great Wall of China for meningitis charity

A father-of-two will be taking on the fundraising challenge of a lifetime in support of the victims of meningitis.

Nick Wood, of Titlow Road, Harleston, will spend seven days trekking the Great Wall of China in memory of his mother who died from her second battle with the disease last year.

Mr Wood, 36, hopes to raise at least �2,800 for the Meningitis Trust to boost the charity's counselling service which he credits for keeping his family together.

He said: 'I've never done anything like this before but the Meningitis Trust were so good in supporting me and my family over the past couple of years that I want to do something to help them help others like us in the future.'

Mr Wood's mother, Christine Saltmarshe, who lived in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, first contracted meningitis in 1998 but made a full recovery. However ten years later she was struck down with the condition again leaving her brain damaged.

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After months recovering in an intensive care ward and at a specialist rehabilitation centre, she spent the remaining five months of her life at the All Hallows Nursing Home in Ditchingham, near Bungay. She died in September last year aged 75.

Mr Wood, who works for Royal Mail, said the quick onslaught of the disease had taken the family by surprise on each occasion.

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'The first time she had an ear ache. She went to the doctors who gave her some anti-biotics. She came home went to bed and I found her collapsed at home,' he said.

'It is completely out of the blue. You read the leaflets which tell you to be aware of the speed of it but it is so fast. When my mum got it the second time she had been looking after my son the week before and he was two-years-old. She had even gone to see rugby at Twickenham. The next day she felt unwell and it was down hill from there.'

He added that the support of the Meningitis Trust had been invaluable.

'The Trust sent a counsellor for a period of a good few months. You do not realise just how meningitis tears your life apart. The counselling service definitely kept my family together,' he said.

Mr Wood added that he had always intended to travel to China so when he heard of the fundraising trip, which is actually being organised by the Meningitis Trust, he thought it was 'meant to be'. He will set off on the challenging trek in October next year.

To sponsor Mr Wood, visit www.justgiving.com/nicholas-wood5

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