Heartbreaking pictures show how quickly meningitis took hold of brave toddler who’s lost all four limbs.
This heartbreaking set of images show just how quickly meningitis took hold of a toddler who has lost all her limbs to the disease.
Brave Harmonie-Rose Allen was struck down by the killer bug last September when she was nine months old – just ten days after taking her first faltering steps.
Doctors told her parents Freya Hall and Ross Allen she had one of the worst cases of the virus they had even seen and only gave her a ten-per cent chance of survival.
Harmonie beat the odds – but lost both her legs and arms and the tip of her nose in the process.
Now 16-months-old, she is learning to adapt to a new way of life, helped by donations from wellwishers who have raised #180,000 for her and her family.
Grateful Freya and Ross have now released these photos to highlight just how devastating the illness can be.
They hope they will encourage people to press for the introduction of the new meningitis B vaccine.
Freya, 20, said: “Whenever I tell people what a devastating impact meningitis has had on our family I don’t think they understand quite how severe it was and the suffering it caused.
“The pictures show just how horrible it is. It takes hold of their little bodies so fast. They hit home as they back up just what I’m saying.
“I hope they will make people realise how serious it is and that the vaccine needs to be introduced.
“For the meningitis B strain, which is what Harmonie had, there was a vaccine approved in January 2013 by the European Commission.
“It’s still not being used and I don’t really know why – it makes me so angry. It’s all about costs.
“They think that because not many children get it, in comparison to other illnesses so it’s not worth the costs. But even if you save just one child it’s worth it.”
Freya added: “Before Harmonie was ill I did know of meningitis but I didn’t know of all the different strains.
“I assumed that because she had been immunised against meningitis as a baby that she would never get it, I didn’t know about this other strain.
“The new vaccine also helps reduce the risk of meningitis W, which is on the rise, so it’s two things in one go.
“The only thing holding it back is the cost, it could save so many lives. We’re asking people to write or tweet to Jeremy Hunt and to sign online petitions.”
Freya and Ross first noticed something was wrong on Saturday September 27 when Harmonie-Rose, their only child, woke in the night coughing and unable to breathe.
They took her to the Royal United Hospital in Bath but doctors could not find anything seriously wrong and sent her back home.
The next morning the tot had turned blue and her parents took her back to the same hospital.
She underwent a thorough assessment but doctors diagnosed ‘a virus’ and again sent home.
Hours later Harmonie-Rose became floppy and lethargic and was rushed back to the hospital where a purple rash was spotted.
She was then rushed by ambulance to specialist unit at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
By the time she arrived at the intensive care unit her arms and legs had turned black.
Freya, a full-time mum, added: “Every time we looked at Harmonie she was becoming covered with more purple like bruises.
“Harmonie was then taken to adult intensive care and we did not hear from them until about four hours later.
“When we walked in to see Harmonie I could have fainted. She was asleep and was more covered in the rash than before, this was when we realised it was really severe.
“The doctors told us she would lose the tip of her nose and that was only if she survived.”
As Harmonie-Rose battled for life doctors then gave her parents the devastating news the toxins has spread so quickly she was going to loose both arms and legs.
The deadly virus had killed the tissue in her limbs and they had to be removed to save her.
Surgeons removed her right leg above the knee and her right arm before the elbow in late October and her other limbs a couple of weeks later.
When she gets bigger she will be fitted with prosthetic limbs, but is already learning to play with the help of cuffs on her arms, which can be used to help her hold items.
Harmonie-Rose has undergone dozens of operations and is now back home in Bath, Somerset with her family.
Freya added: “She’s doing brilliantly. She’s had all of her bandages taken off now – last month she had her skin grafts.
“She’s like a different child now – she’s so happy and full of life. She was in a lot of pain before because everything was so raw but she’s much better now.
“She’s now wriggling, she’s very bouncy so we’re hoping she’ll learn to bum shuffle soon.
“She’s not crawling just yet, I don’t think she’s realised she can put her weight on her arms yet, but it won’t be long.
“She loves carrying her doll around and playing the drums.
“We are waiting to move so that we can adapt the house. We’re just trying to get back to normal really.”
The Hope4Harmonie appeal has so far raised over £179,000 which will be used for rehabilitation, hydrotherapy and home adaptations.
The group is also campaigning for the introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine called Bexsero.
It was recommended by the government’s Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on March 21 last year but it is still not in use.
Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy Nick Clegg have both backed the vaccine but the Department of Health is still discussing the price with developer Novartis.
Anyone wishing to donate to the cause should visit www.justgiving.com/