Hull dad's debt to doctors who saved son Steven
A FATHER who almost lost his son to a killer bug is taking on a charity challenge in his honour.
Patrick Gilligan, who lives on Hull's Longhill estate, nearly lost his son, Steven, to meningitis when he was a baby.
At just 13 weeks old, Steven was struck down with the illness and doctors told Patrick and his partner, Katie Holdstock, to prepare for the worst.
But, despite hearing horror stories of meningitis sufferers having limbs amputated, Steven recovered and, now eight, is no worse off for his ordeal.
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In his honour, Patrick is now taking on what he hopes will be the first of many charity events for Meningitis UK – the Bath Half Marathon on Sunday, March 3.
Patrick, 40, said: "It will be great to give something back.
"If the doctors hadn't saved Steven, it would have crucified me.
"I had already lost my dad a few years earlier and I don't think I could have handled losing my dad and my son."
Steven was born on September 29, 2004.
On January 2, 2005, he was rushed to hospital.
Katie's parents had offered to babysit on New Year's Day.
But when Katie arrived to pick him up, Katie's mum was on the telephone to the hospital and was describing her grandson as "grey and floppy".
He was rushed to Hull Royal Infirmary where doctors diagnosed the baby with meningococcal meningitis – one of the worst strains of meningitis.
It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50 per cent of cases if untreated for too long.
Doctors told Katie and Patrick to prepare for the worst and that the next 24 hours would be crucial.
But, thankfully, Steven made a full recovery.
He was allowed home after 12 days and had to return to the hospital for tests for several months.
But he has no lasting health problems as a result of his brush with death.
In fact, Steven is a keen footballer with league winners Sproatley Juniors Under- eights and is showing promise at Wansbeck Primary School.
Patrick said: "He is my little miracle and is a really good footballer.
"We were told to prepare for the worst and you hear of children having limbs amputated after contracting meningitis.
"But he is now very healthy and you would never have known what happened."
Patrick has been training for the Bath Half Marathon since September.
He choose this particular event as it was the first in the calendar that Meningitis UK had charity places for.
Patrick said: "It is my first half marathon but I hope it will be the first of many.
"I've already entered the Great North Run in September.
"I'm a bit nervous but I am looking forward to it.
"I just want to do my best and raise as much money as I can.
"Obviously, it will have its own health benefits for me, but the main aim is to raise money for the people who helped us so much."
Anyone wishing to support Patrick can call the Meningitis UK donation line on 0117 9476320, mentioning his name when they phone.