health

"We thought we could protect her": Parents of two-year-old who died of meningitis B relive their nightmare.

Faye Burdett was only two-years-old when the throws of a deadly disease seized her body and claimed her life.

It is, as it stands, a parent’s worst nightmare. To have a healthy and happy child one minute only to be mourning their death the next.

It is as inexplicable as it is tragic, but for the parents of little Faye, it’s something that is completely  and necessarily avoidable. And something they’re determined does not happen again, so Faye’s death by meningitis B did not happened in vain.

In the first interview since their only daughter died in February, Neil and Jenny Burdett from Kent in the UK told the Daily Mail about the pain of living with the knowledge that their daughter’s death could have been prevented with the smallest of jabs. A jab that existed, but one that Faye wasn’t eligible for.

“We said in the hospital that something has to change,’ Jenny told the newspaper.

“We never want to imagine another child having to suffer like Faye did, when she didn’t need to. That’s what drives us.”

Faye Burdett was too old to receive the vaccination that could have saved her life, that is only available in the UK on the NHS for babies aged from two to five months.

Vaccinations are currently only available on the British NHS to babies aged two to five months old costing up to $500 per child. In Australia, the situation is even worse with the vaccine not being available via our vaccination schedule at all.

And so, as they mourned the loss of their only child, the Burdett’s simultaneously grappled with he fact their young daughter just became the face of a vaccine they knew very little about in a world they didn’t yet understand.

Today, that world is one they want to change.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We thought we could protect her. By giving her a nice home, love and morals, we thought she’d grow up to be a well-balanced young girl with a bit of spirit.

“If this Government is in a position to protect children in this country, they should. If nothing happens and they say the Men B vaccination is not worth it, they’ll be surprised how loud I can shout.

Faye fought for 11 days while her body was consumed by meningitis, sepsis (blood poisoning) and she battled the amputation of many of her limbs.

“No one should ever have to suffer like Faye did. As I said to my brother-in-law, if this was an animal you’d put them down. It was cruel what she went through. Truly cruel,” Neil told the Daily Mail.

In their campaign for the vaccine to be made free and available for all, the couple have given evidence last month to the Petitions Committee in the UK, which is a  government body set up to consider public petitions. However, this is the first time in their campaign for change they have spoken publicly about their child’s tragic death.

“She was our only child, and our lives revolved around her,” the couple said.

“Meningitis is every family’s fear. Don’t let this happen to another child.”

In Australia a similar petition was started by the South Australian family of Jazmyn Parkyn, a three-year-old who almost died of meningococcal last year…

00:00 / ???