A 5-year-old girl who lost all four limbs to meningitis before age 1 is gearing up for her first half-marathon, where she’ll be aided around the course by her team members before hopefully finishing the final stretch on her prosthetic legs.
Harmonie-Rose Allen, of Bath, England, contracted meningitis when she was 11 months old, and was given a 10 percent chance of survival, SWNS reported. Meningitis affects thousands each year, but the most serious strain, bacterial meningitis, can be deadly, especially in infants.
The illness causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and in extreme cases, bacterial meningitis can lead to death within several hours. Those who survive the infection may end up with permanent disabilities or limb loss. Symptoms may begin with fever, nausea, stiff neck, headache and confusion, and typically appear within three to seven days of exposure. Later symptoms may include seizures or coma.
Harmonie-Rose had all four limbs amputated in a life-saving maneuver before her first birthday and learned to walk independently on prosthetics about two years after being fitted with her first pair.
According to a post on the “Hope for Harmonie” Facebook page, she is one of three children chosen to race for the charity “Time is Precious.” Her seven-member team is raising money ahead of the race, which is slated for March 17.
“It is somewhat ironic that we will attempt to push her around when Harms is not the type of person to let anyone push her around,” Hannah Hall, Harmonie-Rose’s aunt, told SWNS. “Some of us have run a half [marathon] before and some of us haven’t — we certainly have not pushed a wheelchair around the whole 13.1 miles. We are also hoping that Harmonie will be able to get out of her chair and run those last few meters with us — steps the doctors said she would never take.”
The family posted photos of Harmonie-Rose proudly wearing her race bib on the support page. Harmonie-Rose and her parents, Freya Hall and Ross Allen, have made headlines before for their work with the Meningitis Now charity, where they seek to spread awareness about potential symptoms of the illness, as well as urge others to get vaccinated.
The family was interviewed in Sept. 2018 after Harmonie-Rose’s first day of school, which went off without a hitch.
“She did drawing and wrote her name and she even got a sticker for writing an ‘S’ on the board,” Freya Hall had told SomersetLive. “We are so proud of her and are so excited for the future.”