Family hit by meningitis tragedy welcomes 'amazing' vaccine news

Western Telegraph: FUNDRAISING FAMILY: Tony and Nikki Busby have been fundraising for a vaccine for two years. FUNDRAISING FAMILY: Tony and Nikki Busby have been fundraising for a vaccine for two years.

A NEYLAND family, whose ten-month-old son died after contracting meningitis, has welcomed news that a life-saving vaccine may become available on the NHS.

On Christmas Eve, 2011, Kadyn Dean Busby died after contracting meningococcal septicaemia - a highly aggressive bacterial infection, also known as meningitis B.

In the two years since their son’s tragic death, Nikki and Tony Busby have raised more than £36,000 for Meningitis Now – a UK charity fighting to secure a vaccine against the disease.

The Department of Health has now recommended that meningitis B vaccine ‘Bexsero’ be introduced as part of the NHS vaccination schedule for infants aged from two months.

Nikki, 31, described the news as “amazing”.

“For us, this is what we wanted, this is what we’ve been fundraising and campaigning for,” she said.

The decision means manufacturer Novartis will still have to make the vaccine available at a ‘cost effective price’ before it is added to the programme, but Nikki said it was still a huge step forward.

Previously, the Department of Health’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) had said the vaccine was completely unaffordable.

Speaking of the recommendations, Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Meningitis B can be devastating for children and their families, and naturally we are keen to take effective steps to tackle its effects. The JCVI recommendations are the very start of the process and we will monitor closely the outcome of the negotiations.”

Nikki said the family had not been expecting the U-turn, and the decision had stirred many mixed emotions.

“It’s a really weird feeling; it’s emotional because of everything we’ve done, and because of Kadyn,” she said.

“For it to come out three years after, part of us is like ‘Why three years after? Why not earlier?’ But then we think about all the future lives that will be saved, and it’s amazing.”

The couple are currently enjoying time with their six-month-old daughter Faith-Marie, who Nikki describes as the ‘spitting image’ of her son.

“She’s like Kadyn’s double, it’s unbelievable - absolutely incredible how much she’s like him,” she said.

And, while thrilled at the possible introduction of a vaccine, Nikki said she is keen to keep raising awareness of the illness and the devastating effect it can have.

The couple are considering setting up a local charity in Kadyn’s name, to give back to the community which helped them out after they lost their son.

“Everybody rallied round for us and the money raised was unbelievable,” said Nikki.

She added that establishing a permanent memorial to her son would also help keep his memory alive.

“We feel a bit like Kadyn might be forgotten, so we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The family’s next fundraiser will be an Easter Bingo event at Neyland Athletic Club on Monday, April 28. For details, email nikki-cleddau@hotmail.com.

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