A dream holiday in Benidorm in Spain’s Costa Blanca ultimately ended in tragedy for Luke Brown from Upton, Merseyside, after he contracted meningitis on his return home.
The popular 23-year-old, who was otherwise fit and healthy, fell victim to a dangerous strain of the ‘silent killer’ disease and died a week later.
Luke was rushed to hospital in Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral in September after his shocked parents, Viv and Del, discovered him having seizures in bed. He was placed into an induced coma.
His last text to his devoted dad read: “Can you bring me up a can of Tango when you’re sorted?”
The evening before being taken to hospital, Luke had complained of having a headache and asked for a bath to be run for him.
His parents kept a vigil by his bedside in hospital over the next week, but they believed he effectively died at home. They were forced to turn off his life-support machine as he had no sign of brain activity.
The couple have now revealed that their son’s organs saved the life of a man in his 30s, who needed a new liver, and also helped a woman in her 30s who received a kidney after being on the waiting list for three years and a man in his 60s who also received a kidney.
Luke’s parents believe the holiday flight home from Spain could have triggered the meningitis.
Their research revealed the growing number of teenagers and 20-something-year-olds who have died from the illness, and they are hoping to set up the Luke Brown Foundation.
Ultimately, the family would like to buy a lodge so families with loved ones affected by meningitis can use to get a well-earned break.
The illness can lead to people losing their sight, and sometimes their limbs, after sepsis sets in.
Around 800 people packed out St Mary’s Church in Upton for Luke’s funeral, and six cars formed part of the cortege.
The horse-drawn carriage, which carried his coffin to the service, was also held aloft in Prenton Park, the home of Tranmere Rovers, of which Luke was a devoted fan.
Viv said: “We don’t want Luke to be forgotten, we want to make people aware about meningitis. Our son was bubbly and handsome and everybody loved him. We want the government to take meningitis more seriously.”
Del, who worked as a plasterer with his son, said: “If our campaign helps just one person to recognise the symptoms, and they get to the hospital in time to take antibiotics, then it’s worth it.
“The rate of survival for those with meningitis is horrendous. This information should be in every university, not enough information is out there.”
The strain of meningitis Luke had can kill within four hours. The illness can lead to people losing their sight, and sometimes their limbs, after sepsis sets in.