A BATTLING baby who has TWICE bounced back from meningitis has inspired his dad to embark on a charity challenge.
Craig Bennett and his brother Kevin are climbing the three highest peaks in England ,Scotland and Wales over two days starting on May 13 to help raise awareness and funds for the Meningitis Trust, a charity which helps support families who have been effected by the potentiall life threatening disease.
Thankfully, despite being struck down by meningitis twice 10 month old Mason has just been ggiven the all clear on any posible long term brain damage.
Craig aged 41 and his wife Suzanne, thought their son was going to die as he battled meningitis at Christmas and the couple now want GPs and parents to be more aware of the symptoms.
After three agonizing weeks in hospital Mason was finally allowed home but Craig and Suzanne had to wait for MRI scans to reveal the full extent of brain damage caused by the devastating illness.
Then again in January Mason was again struck down by the illness but has shown great strength and courage to pull through again. The couple have now been told that scans have revealed no lasting long term brain damage.
Dad Craig, who runs Lowton Carpets in Warrington, said “Everybody says to look for a rash but Mason, like many cases of meningitis, had no rash.
He was very poorly and every time we went to see our GP we were told to give him Calpol and watch his fluids.
“Next thing we knew he was struggling to breathe and we rang an ambulance. When we found out it was meningitis it was a terrible shock.
“Mason is very lucky to be alive, particularly after being struck down for a second time and we would not wish any family to go through what we have been through.”
The couple have two other children Jess, 14, and Thomas, five.
As well as the Three Peaks Challenge they are planning other fund-raising events for Mason and the Meningitis Trust.
A spokes person for the Meningitis Trust said: “We are constantly reminded how devastating meningitis can be, changing people’s lives in an instant. It’s a disease that can affect anyone, of any age, at any time, however, babies and children under five are most at risk.
“Recognising the symptoms of meningitis can be difficult, as many are similar to common illnesses, such as flu.
“The rash that is commonly associated with meningitis doesn’t appear in all cases, so it is vital that people are aware of the other signs and symptoms.”

 Signs and symptoms to look for in babies and toddlers:

• Fever
• Refusing food or vomiting
• Fretful, dislike being handled
• Drowsy, floppy, unresponsive
• Unusual high-pitched cry, moaning
• Tense, bulging fontanelle (soft spot)
• Neck stiffness, dislike bright lights
• Convulsions/seizures

 Signs and symptoms in children and adults
• Fever
• Vomiting
• Drowsy, difficult to wake
• Confusion and irritability
• Severe muscle pain
• Severe headache
• Neck stiffness • Dislike bright lights
• Convulsions/seizures

Any one who would like to make a donation to the charity can do so through http://www.justgiving.com/craig-bennett

Pictures show baby Mason and Craig Bennett with his other children Thomas and Jess.