Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

When Clare Lost Her Legs She Told Me: Why Didn't You Let Me Die, Mum? Now She Has Just Finished a Marathon; MENINGITIS VICTIM SPENT SIX MONTHS IN A COMA AND THEN FOUR YEARS FIGHTING BACK

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

When Clare Lost Her Legs She Told Me: Why Didn't You Let Me Die, Mum? Now She Has Just Finished a Marathon; MENINGITIS VICTIM SPENT SIX MONTHS IN A COMA AND THEN FOUR YEARS FIGHTING BACK

Article excerpt

Byline: ALISTAIR FOSTER

THE brave young runner who captured hearts as she struggled to complete the London Marathon told today how she lost her legs to meningitis.

Clare Forbes, 21, was struck down by a killer strain of the disease when she was just 17. She had to have both her legs and a finger amputated - and then battled with the superbug MRSA while she was being treated in hospital.

Clare took just over 19 hours to complete the 26.2-mile marathon course before collapsing in agony at the finish.

But just four years ago doctors were warning her parents that she might not survive at all.

Clare, from Crawley in West Sussex, contracted meningitis B in March 2001.

She had been on a night out to the Atlantis nightclub in Croydon with friends but the following day began to feel ill.

She said: "I had a sore throat and was aching all over. I can't remember anything else until I woke up from the coma months later."

Clare collapsed at a friend's house and was taken by ambulance to Crawley Hospital, where she was quickly diagnosed with meningitis, but within minutes she had slipped into a coma and was put on a life support machine.

She had suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. The resulting brain damage means she still suffers from dizziness, double vision and a twitch in her eyes. She only escaped worse damage because she was so young and the stem cells in her brain were able to regenerate.

Her mother Karen, 51, said: "The doctors were talking about turning off her life support machine and we phoned all her relatives and told them she was dying." Clare was transferred to St Thomas' Hospital in London and was placed in intensive care. She remained there - unconscious - for six months.

In August 2001 she had contracted septicaemia, or blood poisoning, and it was decided to amputate her legs and a finger on her right hand. She had also contracted MRSA, but it is unclear whether it was that or the meningitis which led to the infection. …

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