Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

A “selfless, loveable and amazing” man who thought he had a hangover died seven days after contracting meningitis.

Luke Brown, from Upton in Wirral, had been home for a week from a holiday to Benidorm when he woke up feeling unwell.

The young plaster initially put his symptoms down to a hangover after going to a charity event at the weekend, and suspected he might also have sinusitis, which his mum Viv suffers from.

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But later that day, he was rushed to Arrowe Park Hospital after his parents found him having seizures on his bed.

It was here that doctors discovered Luke was suffering from bacterial meningitis and he was put into an induced coma, but sadly died a week later.

Two years on from Luke’s death on October 1, 2019, his family are determined to keep raising awareness of the disease and the signs and symptoms that people need look out for.

Viv and Del Brown from Upton who lost their son Luke, 23, to bacterial meningitis in 2019
Viv and Del Brown from Upton who lost their son Luke, 23, to bacterial meningitis in 2019
(Image: Family handout)

Viv told the ECHO: “It was two years on Friday and my heart knows it’s happened but my head’s telling me it hasn’t, and I’m two years in.

“We certainly wouldn’t want anyone to walk in our shoes because it’s not a nice life; we are just existing, and we are still two years on trying to find our way in this new life forced on us without him.

“So raising awareness for us, if it helps just one person then job done.”

Symptoms of meningitis develop suddenly and can include:

  • a high temperature (fever)
  • being sick
  • a headache
  • a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (but a rash will not always develop)
  • a stiff neck
  • a dislike of bright lights
  • drowsiness or unresponsiveness
  • seizures (fits)

NHS advice on when to get medical help:

You should get medical advice as soon as possible if you’re concerned that you or your child could have meningitis.

Trust your instincts and do not wait until a rash develops.

Call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E immediately if you think you or your child might be seriously ill.

Call NHS 111 or your GP surgery for advice if you’re not sure if it’s anything serious or you think you may have been exposed to someone with meningitis.

Everyday, Luke’s parents Viv and Del, 54, visit him in the cemetery where he is buried and sit and speak to him.

And at 4.54pm every Tuesday, to mark the time and day that he died, they play songs at the graveside from his favourite artists including Gerry Cinnamon and the Stone Roses.

Viv said she still sends texts to Luke’s phone sometimes to let him know what his niece and nephews have been up to and the rest of his family.

Luke Brown (far left) pictured with friends Tommy, Mark, Pete, Phil, Colin and Jack in Benidorm in September 2019, just weeks before Luke sadly died.
Luke Brown (far left) pictured with friends Tommy, Mark, Pete, Phil, Colin and Jack in Benidorm in September 2019, just weeks before Luke sadly died.
(Image: Family handout)

She said: “I’ll send him pictures of what the kids have done, when it’s their birthdays, anything that’s happened I’ll message him and tell him, it just gets me through.”

Paying tribute, Viv described Luke as a “selfless, amazing and loveable lad.”

The 23-year-old’s organs were donated to a man in his 30s, who needed a new liver, and a man and a woman who needed a kidney.

Viv said: “Luke still lived with me and his dad at home and he was just the life and soul of everything.

“He lit the room up when he walked in anywhere and he was a proper joker, a prankster, everybody loved him.

“He just loved his fashion, he loved his football, he loved Tranmere Rovers. He loved a flutter on the horses and he loved his holidays, but he absolutely adored his niece and his nephews.

“We’re a very close knit family. Every loss is horrific but I think to lose a child, I can’t even describe the pain.

“His friends are just unreal, absolutely unreal. They pick us up and they come and see us.”

Following Luke’s death in 2019, the family set up the Luke Brown Foundation in his memory, with the aim of raising awareness of meningitis and to offer support to affected families.

Ultimately, the family want to buy a lodge which families with loved ones affected by meningitis can use to get a well-earned break and have time to reflect on what has happened when the time is right for them.

Viv said: “The thing for the lodge is for anybody affected in the north west by meningitis, bacterial or viral – they can go to the lodge and reflect on what’s happened to them as a family.”

For more information on the Luke Brown Foundation click here.

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