Parents of a seven-year-old boy have released pictures of their son’s dying breaths as a warning to others about this terrible illness.

The Sun reports that Claire and Mark Timmins’ son Mason died of Meningitis two weeks before Christmas in 2013 and needed a life support machine towards the end of his tragically short life.

The UK couple want to make sure no other parents have to suffer the loss of a child at the hands of the illness.

A petition in the UK asking the government to vaccinate all children against meningitis B has become the most-signed in history after 600,000 people put their names down.

meningitis 1

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, the parents said: “They’re not very nice pictures, obviously. We had kept them in a box in the loft until we saw the heartbreaking photograph of Faye Burdett, the two-year-old who died on Valentine’s Day.

“So many people responded through shock from that, and so we thought if it’s going to make a difference we should use our photo as well.

“It was quite an easy decision to make. As soon as I mentioned it to my husband he said ‘yes, if it will get people to listen’.

meningitis 2

“Hopefully it will shock people into finding out more about meningitis. We want people to know just how quickly it can happen.”

Mason didn’t develop a rash but woke up vomiting one morning and fell asleep watching a children’s TV show.

He was then rushed to the doctors who said he had meningitis but by then it was too late and he died 24 hours later in the arms of his parents.

Claire continued: “I remember the moment he died every day. I can talk without crying now, but my husband can’t. He gets two or three words out, and that’s it.

“One nurse switched off the machine, the other one removed the pipes and then they put him on our lap and left us with him. We still felt his heart beating for a good 10 minutes after they switched the machine off — but it got slower and slower.

“We said ‘his heart’s still beating.’ But they said ‘that’s normal’.

“All the medical staff then left just before 3pm, after they took these pictures.

“There were a couple of minutes of silence. We were just kissing him and hugging him, and wondering why this was happening. Everybody gave him a hug and said goodbye, and then our family left me and Mark. We tucked him back into bed, and then the doctors came back and pronounced him dead at 3.20pm.

“It sounds silly now, but the hospital gave us a box when we left on the day he died. Inside it they’d given us a paint print of his hand and his foot, and they also took casts. They also gave us the photos the nurses had taken in his dying moments.

“For months I kept them in a box in a sideboard cupboard. For the first few months I got them out every few days, just to take a look — it was the only way I could see it was real.

“But then we put everything in a big memory box in the loft. That’s where they’ve been until now.”

meningitis 3

Symptoms of meningitis can include via Better Health:

•neck stiffness and joint pains
•drowsiness and confusion
•purple–red skin rash or bruising
•discomfort looking at bright lights (photophobia)

Things to remember
•Bacterial meningitis is serious and requires very prompt medical attention.
•Different germs can cause meningitis.
•Viral meningitis is relatively common and may also be serious.
•Vaccination can protect against some forms of meningitis.

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  • How sad is this !
    And very brave of the parents to share indeed. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.
    I like the gesture of the hospital making pictures, hand & foot prints and a cast


  • This is just so heartbreakingly sad.


  • this is heartbreaking. condolences. that would be so tough.


  • so sorry for your loss, no parent should go through that, poor little fella i hope he is resting in peace now xxxxx


  • so sad and such a horrible virus. so brave for the parents to make it public.


  • These parents are very brave to be able to tell their story. It was heartbreaking to read


  • oh my god those poor parents this is so sad to see… I truly hope people will now take more notice


  • This is so incredibly sad. If this is not a case FOR vaccination, then I don’t know what is. Preventable diseases SHOULD BE prevented.


  • Do hope this can get through to those who are anti vaccine people – these vaccines do stop many, many deaths.


  • This is so sad. This story is the same as what took place with my cousins son. He was 15 at the time and he got Meningitis and was vomiting but they thought he had caught the flu like symptoms from his mother who was sick earlier in the week. They rushed him to hospital but he also like this young boy was dead within 24 hours.

    I am so sorry for these parents and their loss. It is a very serious disease and has to be acted upon very quickly. I pray they will find strength in the fact that they shared their traumatic experience with others to make them aware of this horrible viral infection which can cause sudden death. I hope that this will seriously encourage vaccination. May he rest in peace and may his parents find peace. God bless.


  • Firstly my condolences to the family. I was only talking to a co-worker whom is pregnant and said she should make sure her baby is vaccinated for meningitis and chicken pox if they are not on the current immunisation schedule.

    It must very very difficult for this family but their strength to make others aware of this illness will help others.

    Take care


  • I’m pretty sure they do have the vaccination out in the UK but I don’t think in Australia yet.


  • I have my own story with this horrid disease and it is not something that you want to deal with.
    Good on them for sharing their story.


  • I’m in tears. Thank you for sharing your story and I do so hope that it doesn’t just fall on deaf ears


  • This is a very brave thing that this family has done. Unfortunately a vaccine for Meningococcal B is not included as part of the immunisation schedule. I have independently vaccinated my son but I was out of pocket around $600. This is probably not something that most families can afford. I hope the immunisation schedule is updated to include Meningococcal B vaccine as part of the standard/ free program.


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