Banbury family raises £2,000 for Meningitis awareness in memory of beloved niece

Banbury couple team up with local hero Prabhu Natarajan and his family to complete challenge for the charity, Meningitis Research Foundation.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 8:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 8:58 pm
Kelly and Matt Hewitt teamed up with local hero Prabhu Natarajan and his family to complete 26 circuits of Spiceball Park to raise money for the charity,Meningitis Research Foundation.The group endured the challenge alongside family and friends dressed up in animal onesie costumes on Sunday, May 2.

Kelly and Matt Hewitt teamed up with local hero Prabhu Natarajan and his family to complete 26 circuits of Spiceball Park in order to raise money for the charity, Meningitis Research Foundation.

After losing their niece Mia to the disease when she was just six months old in 2006, this became an organisation very close to their hearts.

The group endured the challenge for five hours alongside family and friends dressed up in animal onesie costumes on Sunday, May 2.

Mia, passed away after taking ill with meningitis septicaemia when she was just six months old in 2006 (Image from the family)

They finally hit their target of £2,000 on Monday, which the couple had been trying to reach for the past two years.

Kelly said: “I want to say a huge thank you to Prabhu and his wife Shilpa for doing this challenge with us.

“Obviously publicity is a big thing for us, and after being stuck on just over £1,000 for some time, it was amazing to finally hit our target.

“We want to make sure we keep Mia’s memory alive, and raise as much money and awareness of this deadly disease as possible.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has donated.”

The number 26 symbolises the amount of miles Kelly and Matt were due to run in the London Marathon last month, which they will now run in October due to it being postponed.

The walk isn’t the only thing the family have done to raise money for the charity, with several friends and family members taking on the ‘26 challenge.'

In the past week supporters have done a range of activities such as 26 flips on the trampoline, eaten 26 biscuits, ran 2.6 miles, drawn 26 pictures, and written down 26 things they are grateful for.

The family organise something every year in memory of Mia and have previously climbed Mount Snowdon, shaved their heads, and completed a 10k run.

Tuesday marked what would have been Mia’s 15th birthday and Kelly asked the people of Banbury to join the family by lighting a candle at 7pm.

You can donate to Mia’s cause via the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/miasmemoryMia’s mum, Laura Cowley wrote the following message in memory of her daughter and hopes to raise awareness to as many people as possible about the disease:

“Rewind 15 years and I had hardly heard of the word meningitis. I had no idea what is was but I was about to find out. On the 12th November 2006 Mia developed a cold, and like any mother I gave her some Calpol and kept a close eye on her. I put her to bed next to me and drifted off. 4am I woke up for work and looked over at Mia. Straight away I could see something was wrong as she was covered head to toe in a rash. I woke her dad and we rushed her to A&E. I was in such a daze and everything seemed to be a blur. The doctors finally told us it was meningitis septicaemia and my heart sank. Then the news we didn’t want to hear 'sorry she’s gone.' My whole world had shattered! I decided it was my mission to spread the awareness of this awful disease so someone else just like me would never have to suffer like I did. In just four hours my baby girl had been taken away from us without any warning. We have raised now over £8,000 in her name, and constantly spread the word of this nasty disease. Matt and Kelly have been so wonderful and I’m so grateful for their support.”