Distraught parents have released a heart-breaking image of their two-year-old daughter hours before she died of meningitis as they lobby the Government for a vaccine.
Young Faye Burdett was photographed with a painful rash covering her entire body as she sadly lost her 11-day battle with the infection on Valentine’s Day.
But mum Jenny and dad Neil Burdett, who are experiencing “a pain you cannot describe” at the loss of their only child, have vowed to help protect other youngsters from the illness.
They have channelled their energy into calling for a change in policy after their daughter’s shock death and are asking as many people as possible to sign a government petition to give the Meningitis B vaccine to all children – not just babies.
The parents, of Maidstone, Kent, first noticed the youngster was ill with flu-like symptoms on February 2 and rushed her to hospital.
She was released after a number of tests, but her condition got worse and she was rushed to King’s College Hospital in London the next day.
Young Faye was put on the children’s ward but her condition continued to worsen as doctors fought to treat the infection that lives in the back of the nose and throat.
But after doctors told beauty therapist Jenny and lorry driver Neil that she was experiencing septicaemia, a poisoning of the blood – they were faced with a terrible decision – to have her limbs amputated which she may not survive, or let her slip away.
The brave parents chose to say goodbye to their beloved daughter at 9pm on Valentine’s night.
In a statement, Faye’s parents said: “Faye was taken to A&E with a rash on her forehead.
“She was then transferred by South Bank Retrieval Service to Evelina children’s hospital where her heart stopped in the ambulance, they revived her and spent hours working on stabilising her.
“We were given a one per cent survival rate but she proved them wrong and carried on fighting.
“After a few days she seemed to have turned a corner but the sepsis started to affect her more and the decision of limb removal was made, but the extent of removal was massive, full leg amputation and one arm and plastic surgery.
“But she was getting tired, her little body consumed by meningitis and blood poisoning.
“We had to make the decision, a massive operation and she may die or we let her go peacefully on her own accord.
“We decided the latter and then watched our little girl slip away and at 9pm February 14 she finally fell asleep forever.
“All this in only 11 days. Play forever in peace Faye.”
In September, babies born on or after July 1 were offered the vaccination as part of their routine immunisation schedule – but older children like Faye were not included.
The petition which has been signed by 250,000 people hopes to raise awareness of the issue, and to roll out the vaccination programme to all children aged up to 11.
Close friend Jody Cox said: “Jenny said to me ‘I am in a pain I just cannot describe’.
“I don’t know how many people could have made such a brave decision. It must be the hardest decision in the world.
“I don’t know how anyone can cope.”
Jody explained that the family do not want Faye’s death to be in vain.
Close family friend Charlene Reed said that the image of dying Faye Burdett shows the harsh reality of meningitis.
She said: “Faye fought for a whopping two weeks with meningitis and at times, we really thought she would come through.
“So to receive the news on Monday morning was not only heartbreaking but shocking.
“We are trying to get parliament to reconsider charging us hundreds of pounds each to protect our children from this. In Faye’s legacy we will fight to raise awareness.
“Faye, and her so very brave mum has given permission to share this photo to raise awareness.
“No it’s not nice but it’s reality, and it’s what this disease did to Faye which made her sadly lose her life on Sunday.”
Another mum-to-be, Beth Wilson, who knows Faye’s mum said: “This is a horrible, horrible story.
“The petition is to try and get the vaccine available to all children rather than just a select few.
“This poor little girl has now died and a vaccine could have saved her.”
Faye’s mum Jenny is a member of a Facebook group of mother’s whose children were all born in the same month – December 2013.
The group, made of more than 1,000 women have voiced their support of the family.
In a joint statement they said: “One of our two-year-old little girls lost her life to Meningitis B and it could have been prevented.
“There is a vaccine being offered to those born after May 2015 and we need to get this changed to cover all children.”
Charity Meningitis Now have voiced their support for the petition, which has now been signed by more than a quarter of a million people.
Chief executive Sue Davie (corr) said: “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Faye’s family and friends – they know we are here to support them in any way we can.
“The response to Faye’s petition has been overwhelming, with signatures reaching over 250,000 in a matter of days.
“We are using our voice to support the petition to raise the profile of meningitis, keeping it high on the political agenda and increasing awareness among the public to prevent more lives being lost to this devastating disease.
“Although the introduction of the Men B vaccine on the childhood immunisation scheme for young babies was a momentous achievement, saving thousands of lives, there are still so many, like Faye, left unprotected.
“Moving forward, we continue to campaign to see the Men B vaccine rolled out, particularly to at risk groups to ensure a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis.”
To sign the petition, visit https://petition.parliament.