It is 14 years since loving mum, daughter, sister and friend Julie Palmer died from the meningitis when she was just 32.
But every year Julie’s family take part in an annual event that helps to raise money into finding a vaccine that will finally eradicate all forms of the killer bug.
Several relatives and friends of Julie donned their trainers and completed the 25 mile walk from Burnley to Ashton under Lyne when the Morpeth to Stonehouse 344 Miles in 16 days walk passed through the town.
Julie’s sister, Nicola Moore, who took part in the walk, said: “It is a great way for us to get together as a family, to remember Julie and to make people aware of meningitis and how it can strike anyone down at any age.”
Julie was only 32 when she died from the virus 14 years ago. Her death left her family, including her children Marcus, Kirsty and Zoe, devastated and they vowed that her legacy would live on when they began raising money for Meningitis Now to fund research and also raise awareness.
To date, Julie’s mum, Mary Moore, has raised the terrific total of £27,000 during her years as a landlady at a variety of pubs. The family have always stepped up to help and support any project the charity has run.
This incredible achievement has been recognised by Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman who launched the charity 30 years ago, two years after the death of his baby son Spencer from meningitis.
Nicola, who works as a nurse who often deals with patients with meningitis, said: “The walk takes place every year and Steve always gets in touch with us to let us know when they will be passing through Burnley.”
This year, friends and family, including Julie’s other sister Michelle Arthur and her daughter Cori, Kirsty and Zoe and Marcus’s wife, Charlotte, laced up their trainers for the challenge.
Nicola said:”We were very lucky with the weather and as we walked we handed out leaflets about the charity and also carried collection buckets.
“A lot of people seem to think that meninigitis only affects children but it can strike anyone of any age at any time and the symptoms can be hard to recognise.
“A lot of people are aware that a rash is one of the signs but that is not always the case as Julie only only had one tiny spot on her foot.”
After Julie’s death her organs were donated to save the lives of five people including a young dialysis patient who had her kidneys and a 65-year-old man who had her heart.
Money raised by Julie’s family also goes towards funding the wide ranging services offered to bereaved families who have lost a loved one to meningitis. Counselling and emotional support is available along with financial help.