Girl who survived meningitis learns to swim

Meningitis survivor Lillie-Mai Jackson has once again stunned her family by learning to swim.
Lillie-Mae swimming
The Maryport youngster continues to defy the odds by hitting major milestones that any other six year old would achieve, even though she lost both legs and an arm to the deadly disease.


It only took her eight lessons to swim unaided and there's no stopping her now. When Lillie-Mai started she was very cautious of the water, but instructor Shirley McLean at Arkleby Leisure Centre soon boosted her confidence. Her proud grandmother Margaret Little said: "When she first went, she was a bit dubious. One day we were just sitting at the side watching her and Lillie just jumped in and swam. Tears were rolling down our face." The fortnightly lessons were funded by Meningitis Now following advice from Lillie-Mai's occupational therapist. Cumbrian girl who survived meningitis learns to swim Mum Belinda Little, said:
Lillie's doing fantastic. She stuns us all each day. When she's swimming she kicks her little legs and uses her arm – it's phenomenal. She loves swimming and it's good for her muscles."Lillie's Mum
Lillie is also excelling at Netherton Infant School, said Belinda, of Ewanrigg Road. "She's doing amazing, the same as all the other children. Nothing holds her back."

Lillie-Mai's meningitis story

When Lillie-Mai developed meningitis at 14 weeks old, her family were asked numerous times to switch off her life support machine as the doctors believed she was brain damaged following a cardiac arrest. But her family never gave up. She has since undergone 16 major operations, two of which to save her life, had triple amputation skin grafts and operations to remove overgrown bone in her leg.

Future challenges

However, as she grows, the family face the agonising task of raising enough money to pay for specialised legs. At the moment Lillie-Mai's false legs are free on the NHS. Burt when she's ready to move to a more mechanical pair which bend at the knee, they needed funded by the family at a cost of around £28,000. They are continuing with their fundraising to pay for the legs, and are appealing for anyone who can help to donate. Anyone wanting to support Lillie-Mai’s artificial limb appeal can leave money for the Lillie-Mai Jackson Fund at any branch of the Cumberland Building Society or online here.
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