Parents mourn tragic death of son

Natalie Nel and Terence Palmer
Natalie Nel and Terence Palmer

The parents of a little boy who died suddenly from rare and severe form of meningitis have warned other parents to be aware of all types of the illness.

Natalie Nel and Terence Palmer, of Rushden, are mourning the loss of their “happy, clever and cheeky” little boy Jayden Oliver Nel, who died aged three-and-a-half on Friday, December 7.

Jayden felt ill with stomach and leg pains the night before, and when purple rashes appeared all over his body on Friday morning he was rushed to hospital. But he sadly passed away at 10am.

Doctors told his parents that the condition which claimed his life – Meningococcal septicaemia, a bacterial form of meningitis – is very rare, and a case had not been seen by doctors at the hospital for 20 years.

Miss Nel said: “He was alright on Thursday night. He fell asleep at 8pm but he woke up at 10.30pm and said his legs hurt. Then at 12.30pm he woke up again and was sick – I just thought it was a sickness bug because he was like how he was any other time he’d had a sickness bug. He also said his belly hurt.

“At 4am his eyes looked shiny and glazed, then at 7.30am I noticed a rash, like purple bruises, all over his body. I called my friend who is a nurse and she recognised the symptoms. She took us to hospital but by the time we got to Finedon Jayden wasn’t responding.

“We stopped the car and called for an ambulance, which came very quickly. They took him to Kettering General Hospital. His heart stopped when he got there. They resuscitated him but I don’t think he could fight any more.

“They assure me that there’s nothing they could have done. I just want to tell other parents to cherish their children – cherish every second. If your child is ill don’t just assume it’s a bug.

“At the moment there isn’t a vaccination for it, but in the future there could be so I would like to raise money to help with that.”

Miss Nel now plans to set up a Facebook page to raise awareness of meningitis and raise money for research into the illness.

Jayden’s funeral will take place at Kettering Crematorium on Wednesday, December 19, at 3.45pm. Any donations should be made to a meningitis charity.