The sister of a Kirkcaldy teenager who died of meningitis is to take to the streets to raise money and awareness of the devastating illness.
Rachel Smith will run a half marathon in memory of her brother Gregor, who was just 13 when he died within hours of falling ill in 2013.
She hopes taking part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in aid of Meningitis Now will help prevent others going through what she and her family experienced after Gregor was initially misdiagnosed by a doctor.
Rachel, who was 15 at the time, said her brother’s death had been shockingly quick.
“Gregor was 13-years-old when he woke on February 24 2013 with a high temperature and sore legs,” she said.
“He then grew weaker and at midday he was taken to A&E where he was diagnosed with a viral bug and sent home.
“Gregor then returned to A&E three hours later as a rash had started to spread over his body.
“He passed away six hours later with his family at his side, the cause being meningococcal septicaemia.”
Almost seven years on, Rachel is keen to race in memory of her brother, who was a talented footballer and swimmer.
“I feel as though the work that the charity does, raising awareness around the symptoms of meningitis, is extremely vital,” she said.
“If the symptoms had been recognised earlier in that day Gregor would still be with us today. It is so important that meningitis is recognised early.
“I completed the same half marathon in 2016 so am trying to improve on my personal best and raise some money to help Meningitis Now continue the important research they do.
“Life is hard every day having someone so important taken away from you but doing events like this keeps their memory alive and also raises money for a great cause.”
Rachel said her brother’s death had had a dramatic effect on the whole family but that Meningitis Now had helped them set up a webpage to remember him.
“Gregor’s Forever Fund provides a place where people can go and donate to the page, read his story, and it really helps keep Gregor’s memory alive,” she said.
“This has been a great source of comfort for myself and my family.”
Viv Jones, Meningitis Now’s community fundraiser for Scotland, said she hoped Rachel’s story would inspire others to sign up for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival on May 24.
To find out more, visit the charity’s website at meningitsnow.org