Meningitis man's marathon effort to pay back his carers

CHRIS Green went to bed one night a fit and healthy 18-year-old looking forward to a gap year adventure.

But hours later his mother found him fighting for his life with a rash covering his body.

He had been struck down by meningitis and was rushed to hospital where he spent a week in a coma.

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When he awoke, he couldn't walk, had no sensation on the right side of his body and was suffering from partial memory loss.

He had to learn to walk again, but ten years on Chris is in training for the Edinburgh Marathon, which he is running to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation - a charity he says gave him so much during his six-month recovery.

Chris, who lives on Easter Road with wife Suzanne, said: "From what I can remember, the day before I had been really ill and sick, so I had just gone to bed.

"When my mum came into my room the next morning, she apparently found me lying there with a really bad rash and I looked absolutely terrible.

"The doctor came out and gave me a shot of penicillin, and if I hadn't got that when I did, I would have died."

He had planned to spend his gap year teaching rock climbing in the Isle of Wight, but when he left hospital after a month, he wasn't even allowed to leave the house on his own because he was prone to passing out.

He had gone from a fit and healthy young man to someone who got out of breath walking round a supermarket, and had dropped from 12 stone in weight to just seven. It was six months before he built his fitness levels back up.

Chris said: "It was a nightmare, and the loss of independence was very difficult to deal with. I was lethargic and struggled to remember things from school or past events.

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"Even now I'm still trying to piece together certain things that have happened in my life."

Chris says the disease has changed his whole outlook on life. He is a teacher at Spark of Genius in Musselburgh - a school for children with behavioural and learning difficulties - and is about to train as a befriender for other people who have suffered from meningitis.

The 28-year-old added: "I'm quite philosophical about it. If it hadn't happened, I wouldn't be who I am now and wouldn't be in the job I am now.

"I definitely feel lucky, and since my recovery I have travelled around the world and done lots of bungee jumps. I just feel like I have to make the most of it.

"I am going to become a befriender for people who have gone through meningitis too. It's about chatting to people and saying to them that these things happen but life can go back to normal."

Chris, who is running the marathon on May 27 along with his brother-in-law Ed Henderson, hopes to raise at least 5000 for the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Mr Henderson, from Portobello, said: "Chris has always wanted to do something to commemorate or celebrate the fact he is alive, and to give something back to the people who looked after him ten years ago.

"Neither of us is a runner, so the training has been quite tough, but it's a lot easier to do because we're both doing it.

"If Chris wasn't doing it, I'd probably have given up." To make a donation, go to