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Marathon run for Liverpool man whose bad round of golf signalled the start of meningitis

1 year ago

Marathon run for Liverpool man whose bad round of golf signalled the start of meningitis
Ted Burnham will run the London Marathon this weekend

Finance worker Ted Burnham realised something was badly wrong when he started missing the ball while playing a round of golf with his mates.

The 23-year-old man is planning to run The London Marathon this weekend after his recovery from meningitis.

The then-student was competing on a nine-hole course and he says:

“When we got to the eighth hole, I couldn’t hit the ball.

“My mates had played ahead, and I was way behind and trying to make some sort of contact with the ball. I kept swinging my club but I kept missing it, which to be fair can happen – but not so many times! I started to feel really anxious because I knew something wasn’t right.”

Ted, from Allerton, told his friends he didn’t feel well and struggled to walk the two-minute journey back to his house.

Within 24-hours he was raced to hospital unable to see, hear, walk or talk, and put in an induced coma after being diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis.

ed Burnham recovers in hospital
Ted Burnham recovers in hospital

Ted said:

“I remember my dad, who’s a doctor, calling the hospital for a second opinion and nothing after that other than him driving like a maniac to get me there.

“They gave me intravenous antibiotics and placed me in an induced coma to enable my brain to recover. They lifted the anaesthetic twice a day to try to wake me up, but it wasn’t until the fifth day that they succeeded.

“It was a worrying time for my family and friends and I know a lot of them, including my mum, Googled the condition and read all the stories about people who never wake up from these comas.”

That was almost five years and on Sunday Ted, a DC analyst, will be running in the TCS London Marathon for Meningitis Now, the national charity which raises money to fund vital research into the disease and support anyone affected by it.

He said:

“It was a terrifying experience for me and I wanted to raise money for Meningitis Now to give something back, and support the many people who supported me; I wanted to raise awareness and money towards a world where nobody loses their life or is left with the life-changing after-effects from meningitis (which can include sight and hearing loss, emotional and behavioural changes, and acquired brain injury).”

Ted Burnham - back on the golf course
Ted Burnham – back on the golf course

Ted added:

“Too often we read the doom and gloom stories of this illness, but I wanted to show that there are positive outcomes too, that there are people like me who make a full recovery. So when they might be Googling and searching for information when someone they love is ill, they might have something to cling to and see that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Ted was 18 when he developed meningitis and had just finished his first year studying natural sciences, majoring in maths.

He became unwell playing the evening golf game while home from Leeds University for the summer, and the headache he developed didn’t go away, it just got worse. 

Ted went home and straight to bed and he said:

“To be honest I can be a bit of a hypochondriac and although I felt really unwell and it was serious, I told myself it was just a bit of a bug.

“But the symptoms just got worse. The next day I had a banging headache, and I was vomiting and sweating.

“My sister Tabby, who’s now 19, came home from school and called my dad, Pete, who’s in acute medicine at the Royal Hospital in Liverpool. I had red blotches all over me which came and went and when my dad came home he thought I’d just caught something viral.

“But when I told him about a darker purple mark on my thigh, about the size of a postage stamp, it seemed to be a red flag to him. The next minute we were on our way to the Royal.

“I was so lucky but the fact that I was in hospital within 24 hours of the symptoms starting shows just how quickly meningitis can develop.”

Ted spent two weeks in hospital where he lost more than a stone in weight. Thankfully, he made a full recovery, finishing university with a First and getting a job with a financial consultancy firm in Liverpool city centre.

Ted Burnham
Ted Burnham

He added:

“It took me a long time to recover physically and, I think, more mentally, because you’re suddenly aware of your own mortality and how fragile life is. I felt like I had to start again, to learn who I was again, which sounds crazy, but everything seemed different from what I thought I knew.

“I’ll never know if it’s affected me long-term but I have come to the conclusion that it’s not worth worrying about, and that you should enjoy and live life to the best of your ability. I certainly look for more opportunities and challenges nowadays.

“The London Marathon is one of those challenges. I’m close to the £2,000 target I set and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support people have shown. I haven’t set myself a time to aim for, but I’ll just try and do it as fast as possible and cross the finish line.

“And I have been back to the golf course – and thankfully this time, I managed to keep hitting the ball.”

To support Ted at the London Marathon click here.



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