A caring Derry couple will stage a fun-filled fundraiser this weekend to ensure their “brave baby boy’s name lives on.”
Nine-month-old Jamie Cowey, of Tullyally, sadly died after he lost his battle with meningitis in November 2004.
On that fateful morning, Jamie woke “bright as a button” before his mum Emma took him downstairs for breakfast and playtime.
By early afternoon, Jamie was falling asleep in his dad Darren’s arms. This was unusual and they put it down to a busy weekend, but Jamie awoke two hours later at 4pm and seemed different.
Emma said: “Jamie didn’t really want to be moved and he was moaning when his daddy lifted him.
“He was a bit hot so I called the doctor.”
Jamie was taken to the doctors at 4.30pm and seemed brighter, but Emma noticed a purple spot on the back of his neck.
The doctor sent them home and told them to ring back if the baby got worse.
At around 6pm, Jamie started vomiting and seemed thirsty, but could not keep his bottle down.
Emma rang the doctor and they went to hospital, but Jamie was not admitted until 10pm. Emma said: “Everything went so fast – our world turned upside down. “Jamie had needles coming out of everywhere. We could see the purple spots spreading like a rash down his chest and he was awake and looking for us. We were so confused when they mentioned meningitis and that he had to be transferred to a bigger hospital.
“Jamie was put on life support and taken by ambulance with a police escort to Belfast while the family followed in his grandfather’s car.”
On arrival, Emma was told the news she dreaded.
She said: “We were sat down and the doctors told us that Jamie suffered a massive heart attack.
“He was still living, he had waited for us. We went to see him, he was so small, surrounded by beeping machinery.
“The machines were breathing for him, we held his hand and his heart failed a few times.
“His wee body was completely covered by the rash.
“At about 11am, doctors said he could fight no more and the next time his heart stopped, we would have to let him go.
“We all went to see him and watched his heart monitor that was slowing down.
“The nurses lifted him into our arms and his daddy and I held him so tight.
“We told him to be so brave and kissed his tiny head, Jamie’s heart stopped at 11.10am.”
The family was contacted by Meningitis UK and realised “we were not alone”.
Jamie’s family is raising money for the charity in his memory as it “gives them strength”.
Darren said: “The consequences of meningitis are heartbreaking and we must find a vaccine to stop the suffering it causes and save innocent lives. If a suitable vaccine had been developed our son would be with us today.”
The couple are hosting an action-packed Jamie’s Night To Remember on Friday, October 5, with all proceeds going to Meningitis UK in memory of Jamie.
The fun-filled fundraiser features burlesque dancers, a fully monty, dancing, fundraising wax, raffle and refreshments at Dupont Club, Maydown, from 7.30pm to late.
Emma said: “It is shaping up to be a fantastic night, all in memory of our lovely boy Jamie.
“We want the night to highlight meningitis and hope the awareness will help to save lives.
“We also hope money raised will help find vaccines to wipe out meningitis.
“We will not stop fundraising until we see this happen.
“There are sure to be laughs with the dancing competition; the full monty, which Darren is starring in, and burlesque are guaranteed to be interesting.
“There will also be a street dance and Bollywood troop, raffle and some brave men will be waxed.
“We hope as many people as possible come along to support this wonderful cause for Jamie.”
Tickets cost £7 each, available by calling Darren on 07821 055700.
Meningitis UK founder, Steve Dayman, who launched the charity after losing his 14-month-old son Spencer to meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia in 1982, said: “What happened to Jamie tragically shows how fast meningitis can attack someone, especially a baby, whose immune system is weak.
“What Jamie’s family and friends have achieved for us in his memory is so touching and we wish them the best for Jamie’s Night To Remember.”
For more information on Meningitis UK call 0117 947 6320 or visit www.meningitisuk.org.