A Wigan community is rallying round a poorly four-year-old as he battles meningitis.
Harley Edwards is in an induced coma at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, after doctors found he was suffering with meningococcal septicaemia: a non-viral form of the condition.
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The Hindley four-year-old was rushed to hospital on Sunday morning after suffering a seizure and being sick. Prior to that he had displayed no symptoms of illness.
His mum and dad, Mark and Lauren, have been at his bedside ever since.
Lauren spoke of the “overwhelming” outpouring of support from family, friends and complete strangers who have heard of her little boy’s battle.
Hundreds of prayers and well-wishes have been voiced for Harley.
The youngster, who only started primary school last month, started vomiting and then suffered a seizure at his home in Hindley.
His mum Lauren Scrivens today expressed her shock at her son’s sudden illness and diagnosis.
“He hadn’t been unwell or anything,” she said.
“On Sunday morning, he woke up being sick. I thought he was just tired, but then he started fitting.
“When the ambulance came, he had a bit of a rash on his belly, but by the time they got him into the ambulance he was fully covered, that’s how quick it had spread.”
He was rushed to Wigan Infirmary where doctors “swarmed” to conduct a series of tests, before he was transferred to Alder Hey, where Lauren was told he was suffering with meningococcal septicaemia - a combination of meningitis and septicaemia.
He was placed in an induced coma, and is currently in a stable condition.
Lauren said: “It was a complete nightmare, it was totally unexpected because he didn’t have any symptoms at all. It’s been a complete whirlwind, especially because of the amount of times I have checked my kids for meningitis.”
She added: “He’s my baby, he’s only four. My world is upside down.
“He is stable, but we are taking it one day at a time.”
Lauren, and Harley’s dad Mark, have been at his bedside ever since they received the terrible news.
They are currently staying at hospital, with accommodation being provided by the Ronald McDonald House.
The family’s local church, St Peter’s, sparked an outpouring of well wishes for the little boy after asking residents to pray for his recovery.
The church wrote: “Lord, we ask for your blessing on little Harley as he fights this dreadful illness.
“Be with him in his suffering and discomfort - may he know your presence and your peace.
“Please be with his parents and family as they watch and wait. Give them strength and patience at this anxious time so that they will know that you are with them and that you love them all. Amen.”
It has been a response which Lauren described as “overwhelming” for the family, which includes Harley’s 16 and 20-year-old brothers Josh and Jake.
“It’s so nice to know that everyone is thinking of us,” she said.
“It’s completely amazing. You don’t realise how many people are thinking about you at such a terrible time, even people you don’t know.”
Hundreds of comments were posted online praying for Harley to make a full recovery, and a Facebook page, “Little Man Harley”, has also been set up for anyone to post messages for the family.
Professor Kate Ardern, director for public health at Wigan Council, said: “I would like to reassure parents that in a single case of meningitis there is no greater risk to anyone who has been in contact with a patient and continue with their usual routines.
“Parents at the affected nursery have also been receiving support and information from us and Public Health England.
“Our thoughts are also with the family of Harley at this difficult time.”
She added: “As always we would encourage parents to be vigilant and seek urgent medical help if they or someone they know displays symptoms of meningitis or septicaemia which include severe headaches, neck stiffness, fever, vomiting, drowsiness or confusion, discomfort from bright light, limb joint or muscle pain or a rash which does not go pale when pressed.”
A range of information on how to spot signs of meningitis is available by visiting nhs.uk/conditions/meningitis.