Little Ellie Challis, 7, and three-year-old Charlotte Nott have a lot in common — they both lost their arms and legs to the deadly disease.
They’ve quickly forged a close friendship and older Ellie has even become a mentor for Charlotte, helping the toddler cope with the difficulties of growing up with a severe disability. Have you heard a more heartwarming story today?
Ellie, now 7, contracted meningitis when she was just 16 months old. She bravely fought for her life and won, but at the expense of her arms and legs.
She’s since been fitted with a pair of prosthetic legs and can now run around and ride a bike, just like any other girl — and she’s been busy teaching 3-year-old Charlotte what to expect when she gets her own new limbs.
Charlotte lost her arms and legs in December 2010 after suffering an almost-identical plight to her pal. She’ll have to wait a few months until her wounds are fully healed before she can be fitted with prosthetic limbs — and she can’t wait, cooing, “I love Ellie’s legs and I can’t wait until I get some, too, so we can run around together.”
Both girls live in the UK, where approximately 2,500 people contract bacterial meningitis each year. Children under five face the highest risk of getting the disease. The survival rate is high, around 90 percent, but 15 percent of survivors are left with severe after-effects — like Charlotte and Ellie.
There are vaccines to prevent many cases of meningitis — but not the most deadly and most common form of bacterial meningitis.
Ellie and Charlotte’s parents, meanwhile, are just happy both girls will get the chance to grow up. Charlotte’s mom Jenny tells the Daily Mail, “I still say thank you every day that Charlotte is still here with us. Watching her playing with Ellie was a miracle.”
What brave girls!
— Ian Garland
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