Parents Hold Second Birthday Party for Daughter who Survived Meningitis

Ellie-Mae’s 2nd birthday party was celebrated in full style with family and friends making it a far happier one than her 1st.

The toddlers 1st birthday was spent in the intensive care unit with her fighting for her life after being struck down with meningococcal septicemia.

Ellie-Mae sadly lost her left arm and right leg to the rare blood poisoning disease and it also destroyed her cheek, earlobe, top lip and fingertips.

After months of Ellie-Mae undergoing reconstructive surgery, parents Billy and Kelly Mellor wanted their daughter to enjoy her birthday party and they went all out to make it extra special.

40 friends and family helped to celebrate the special birthday and the youngsters all dressed up in Disney character costumes.  Ellie-Mae herself was dressed as Minnie Mouse in a pink polka dot dress.

Neville Campbell 54 had suffered from meningitis himself when he was a baby back in the 50’s and was happy to offer his services for free while dressing and playing the part of ‘Friendly the Clown’.

Kelly, aged 28, of Moorland Road, Burslem, said: "We didn't celebrate her last birthday, because she was in hospital, so we've made a big deal of this one.

"This time last year we didn't think she would make it to her second birthday, we didn't think past the next hour.

"Now she is much better and we can plan things for her future.

"She has loved getting her presents and cards, and really enjoyed her party.

Numerous Operations Since Struck Down by Illness

Brave Ellie-Mae has had to deal with 38 operations and is due to go back under the knife 3 more times next month.  These operations are to correct the problems she has been having with her hand, elbow and fingertips.

Father Billy said "Ellie-Mae doesn't like the operations. It is upsetting for us to see because you never know if she is going to come back out.

"But she is as hard as nails. I don't know anybody who has been through what Ellie-Mae has been through, but she has managed it. She is strong - she was always a bossy boots before this happened.

“But she is getting more aware of what is going on now. We have to bribe her with sweets when she has to go to see the doctor.” He added.

Even after all this, this courageous toddler  lets nothing stand in her way and shuffles on her back as quick as any child can crawl on all fours.  ‘Always smiling and never down in the dumps’ is how mum Kelly 28 describes her daughter.

The Sentinel’s Our Heroes presented Ellie-Mae with an award last year after she had been recognised in the Child of Courage category.

Meningococcal Septicemia

Meningitis and septicemia are not always easy to recognise.  Symptoms will not always be clear; they can appear in any order or may not appear at all.  The early stages can be similar to common illnesses such as flu and this illness can affect babies, children and adults.

Early Symptoms to Look Out For:  (This information is a general overview and not intended as professional medical advice)

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Pain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • A Rash or spots that do not fade when a clear drinking glass in pressed firmly against the skin.

A fever, together with spots or a rash that do not fade under pressure, is a medical emergency. If this occurs, seek professional medical advice immediately.

Blood leaking into the tissue under the skin is the cause of a rash or spots to appear.  On darker skin this may be more difficult to see and advice is given to look on the paler areas such as under the eyelids.

However, if someone is ill or is obviously getting worse, do not wait for spots or a rash to appear. Remember, they may appear late or may not appear at all.

For more professional advice, pictures and tips visit the Meningitis Trust website >>

Little Ellie-Mae has thankfully come through this dreadful illness as many others have done so; sadly though she is left with disabilities and hopefully with time she will go on to lead as normal life as possible.