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Dursley aunt's bid for London Marathon glory after nehpews' double meningitis escape

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 07, 2013

fit and healthy:  Kim Bird, from Dursley, with nephews  Liam  and  Byron Clift.

fit and healthy: Kim Bird, from Dursley, with nephews Liam and Byron Clift.

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IT is doubly important for sports teacher Kimberley Bird that she completes the gruelling London Marathon next month.

That's because Dursley mum Ms Bird, 27, who works at Beaufort Community School in Tuffley, is running the race to give thanks that not one, but both of her young nephews survived meningitis.

The Dursley Running Club member will be pounding the capital's streets on April 21 after her sister's Jo Clift's sons Liam and Byron both contracted the illness within days of each other in March last year.

The children, also from Dursley, luckily received medical help in hospital in time and have been left with no lasting side effects.

But the traumatic experience left Ms Bird and her family wanting to help the Bristol based Meningitis UK charity.

"I want to raise as much money as possible so no other family goes through what we went through," said Ms Bird, whose own son Oliver is aged just 15 months.

She expects to finished the marathon in under four hours and is upping her normal exercise schedule in readiness for London.

"I haven't changed my diet. In fact I've been eating loads while I can," said Ms Bird, who is completing speed work on the treadmill and running five times a week with her springer spaniel Pippa at her side.

"I did a 17-mile run the other day and Pippa managed to come the entire way.

"It's doing two jobs at the same time which is brilliant when you've got a young child and time is short."

Her sister Jo, 33, the boys' mother, said: "It is so scary to think what could have been.

"You feel helpless and at the mercy of this terrible illness. It happens so fast, we were extremely lucky," she said.

Meningitis UK founder Steve Dayman, who lost his own son to meningitis 30 years ago, said it was a very rare case.

"It's amazing to hear that both children survived, tragically this is not always the case," said Mr Dayman.

To support Ms Bird's marathon, visit www.meningitisUK.org.

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