Young Amputee To Take On Junior Great North Run

A schoolboy who was forced to have both legs amputated when he was diagnosed with Meningitis aged just 21 months will take on the Junior Great North Run with his sister to raise awareness about the disease.

Nine-year-old Robbie Jones, from Carville in Durham, was given a 5% chance of survival when he contracted a deadly strain of meningitis as a baby.

His heart stopped five times and his family were told to expect the worst.

Doctors at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle were forced to remove both of his legs, below the knee of his left leg and the right above the knee as well as the tips of his fingers.

After spending eight weeks in hospital, two of those in intensive care, Robbie made an amazing recovery and was given the chance to walk again with prosthetic legs.

The sport-loving lad then had his life transformed with a new pair of artificial limbs that allowed him to take part in PE classes, football and judo.

Robbie has now set his sights on the Junior Great North Run, which he hopes to complete in his wheelchair with his older sister Abbie.

After hearing about his Gran Sandra Graham taking part in eight Great North Runs, one of which where she raised money for Robbie and Meningitis Research, Robbie decided he wanted to do something similar.

Sandra, 56, said: “When Robbie became unwell, it was a huge shock to us and we were completely devastated.

“He had such a little chance of survival we were told to prepare for the worst. His fingers had turned purple and his feet were like charcoal.

“Removing his limbs was the only option but every day he amazes and inspires us.

“I was a keen runner myself and always liked to do the Great North Run but as I am now unable to, I asked if Robbie and Abbie would like to do the Junior this year.

“It will be lovely to see Robbie and Abbie taking part in something together and to try and raise money for a great cause.”

In 2008, Robbie's parents woke to find him covered in blue and black marks, which they thought was an allergy.

Doctors diagnosed him with one of the worst cases of group B meningococcal septicaemia that they had ever seen.

The local community rallied round Robbie and helped contribute to the prosthetic legs he received that allowed him to be able to walk again.

The Junior and Mini Great North Run is the UK's most popular children's running event and will take place on the Newcastle Quayside, the day before the world's biggest half marathon, the Great North Run.

Robbie and Alice will join 6,000 children at the event on Saturday 10 September, which has now reached capacity.

They will support Meningitis Research, in a campaign to provide free meningitis vaccinations to all children.

Sandra added: “Robbie really loves sports so it will be great to see him take part in the event with lots of other children.

“He got fitted with special prosthetic legs that help him take part in sports at school and this is due to be renewed soon.

“Hopefully one day he will be able to take part in a run on prosthetics, but for now it's just as important to be able to join in with his sister by his side.

“Offering free vaccinations is something that we all feel really strongly about, Robbie and his mum even took a petition to Downing Street to support this.

“Babies are offered it from birth now but if you are over a certain age you have to pay almost £200 for it.

“Robbie is doing brilliantly but we don't want other families to go through what we did.”