THE FAMILY of a Wotton teenager who died of meningitis are preparing for their annual fun day in his memory.
Chris Pegler, 18, died in November 2010, less than 24 hours after contracting meningitis.
His mum Karen, 42, suspected meningitis as soon as she spotted rashes across her son’s face, chest and arms at night, but Chris was already in a critical condition and lost his life that morning.
The infection caused the former Katherine Lady Berkeley’s School pupil’s organs to fail and his heart to stop.
Since then his family, including his 19-year-old sister Bex, have devoted their time to fundraise for Meningitis Now to help save others from a similar ordeal.
Their fundraising total now stands at more than £32,500.
Mrs Pegler said the thousands of pounds made her feel she was making a difference.
“We can’t save Chris,” she said, “But we can save anyone else we will.
“Fundraising helps with the grieving process – it keeps us focussed on the next thing we’re doing.”
The family was instrumental in the campaign to have meningitis B vaccine Bexsero introduced on the NHS childhood immunisation schedule.
Meningitis B is the most common form of the disease in the country, affecting around 1,870 people each year and killing one in 10.
Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, of Alveston, launched the UK’s meningitis movement after losing his baby Spencer to the disease in 1982.
He said Chris’ death showed how fast meningitis could strike, adding: “Every penny raised will go towards eradicating the awful disease, so no other families suffer heartache due to meningitis.”
The family host their fourth fun day for Stroud-based Meningitis Now on Saturday, May 31 from 1pm to 7pm at Synwell Playing Fields, Wotton.
There will be live music, performances from New Generation Street Dance, classic cars on show and Wickwar Brewery will be providing beer and cider.
A barbecue, bouncy castle, ‘human fruit machine’, face painting, cake stall, raffle and tombola will also be on offer.