Stockton parents champion 'Helen's Walk' for meningitis

A family from Stockton-on-Tees who lost their daughter to meningitis want people to pull on their walking boots for an annual event to raise funds for a charity tackling the disease.

Terry and Sue Laing are backing Meningitis UK's annual Big Stroll North East, previously known as Helen's Walk.

The couple lost their 24-year-old daughter Helen to meningitis aged 24, in 2001.

From the age of 14, Helen had wanted to be a nursery nurse and qualified in January 2001, four months before she succumbed to meningococcal septicaemia.

"The walk helps us come to terms with what happened and is always a great way to raise awareness of the disease.

"Everyone's support for Helen's Walk over the years was unbelievable and surpassed our wildest expectations. Although we no longer run it, we always support the walk, which is growing every year.

"We hope even more people get behind it and put on their walking boots to battle the disease that tragically took our Helen."

– Terry Laing, Helen's father

In Helen's honour, the couple support Meningitis UK and handed control of the walk to the charity after setting it up and raising £90,000.

The 5.5-mile circular Big Stroll takes place on May 12 and starts in Osmotherley.

To sign up, to donate or for more information, call 0117 303 33 47 or click here.

"We again thank Terry and Sue for helping to support the walk - without their help, it would not be as successful as it is.

"What happened to Helen illustrates just how cruel meningitis and its associated disease can be - striking anyone, of any age, at any time.

"The walk is a great way to keep fit, see some truly wonderful sights and all the while battle meningitis, which is notoriously difficult to diagnose and can kill in only hours.

"For all these reason, this is why our main focus is to fund pioneering research to eradicate the disease to protect all future generations."

– Steve Dayman, Meningitis UK founder