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The girl who came back and inspired a charity.

HEATHER Wilde from Widnes was a promising young university student when she was struck down by meningitis.

Within 24 hours she had lapsed into a coma and her parents were warned to expect the worst.

Doctors feared she would not awaken and if she did, they were almost certain she would be severely brain-damaged.

But miraculously she made a good recovery and went on to graduate from university and forge a career as a primary school teacher.

Her mother,Olga, founded the Merseyside Meningitis Support Group and she is reminded constantly of just how lethal the disease can be.

When her daughter fell ill in 1985, there was little publicity about meningitis and parents didn't have the information needed to spot the signs. The charity has been operating for nine years offering help and advice to families about the dangers.

Mrs Wilde said: ``The doctors told me that there was little chance she would come out of her coma and even if she did then she could be brain-damaged. We were lucky, she came out of it with only partial deafness and loss of balance.

``It's good that there is now an immunisation programme for group C but what we have to keep reminding parents is that there is not one for B.

``There is very little difference and both of them can kill, so it is important to keep an eye out for the symptoms.''

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Heather Wilde hovered close to death
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 9, 2004
Words:244
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