Hundreds of thousands of U.K. citizens have signed an online petition after a mother shared a photo of her daughter dying from meningitis.
Two-year-old Faye Burdett died on Valentine’s Day after an 11-day battle with meningitis B.
"Faye was taken to A&E with a rash on her forehead,” Jenny Burdetts, Faye's mother, said, according to The Telegraph. “She was then transferred by South Bank Retrieval Service to Evelina Children's Hospital, where her heart stopped in the ambulance. They revived her and spent hours working on [stabilizing] her. We were given a 1% survival chance but she proved them wrong and carried on fighting.”
Faye’s family, from Maidstone, Kent, England, said her illness was “a pain you cannot describe,” both for the child and her grieving loved ones.
"After a few days she seemed to have turned a corner, but the sepsis started to affect her more and the decision of limb removal was made,” Jenny added. “The extent of removal was massive, full leg amputation and one arm and plastic surgery.”
Due to the intense toll that the illness was placing on her body, Faye’s family had to make a difficult decision.
“We had to make the decision, a massive operation and she may die or we let her go peacefully on her own accord,” Jenny said. “We decided the latter and then watched our little girl slip away and at 9pm February 14 she finally fell asleep forever. All this in only 11 days."
Since September 2015, a meningitis B vaccine has become available through the National Health Service for children aged two months, followed by another dose at four months and a final booster at one year of age. If parents want to vaccinate older children, they must pay privately.
An online petition has been created urging the vaccine to be given to all children. The Meningitis Now Facebook page shared the petition on Feb. 15, and many parents have described the ways in which the grave disease has affected the lives of their loved ones.
“We paid privately to protect our son against this...” Facebook user Toni Young wrote on Feb. 16. “I think its disgraceful that they can choose to protect some children and leave the others at risk, and it all boils down to money.”
"All children are at risk from this terrible infection," Jenny said, according to The Telegraph. "There needs to be a rollout [program] to vaccinate all children, at least up to age 11."
Over 280,000 people have signed the vaccine petition on the U.K. Government and Parliament website as of Feb. 17.