A courageous Melton man is preparing to charity skydive in memory of his baby daughter who died at just eight days old after contracting meningitis.
When Connor Clark’s baby girl, Ruby, was born in February 2012, he couldn’t have been prouder.
But he was devastated just eight days later when Ruby lost her battle with meningitis in hospital, something doctors explained she had ‘caught from the air within hours of birth’.
He said: “For Ruby to be taken so soon was heart-breaking. Over the next few years I found myself in a terribly dark place. I would go to sleep but when I woke up the reality of losing my beautiful baby girl was still there.
“After four long years I now feel ready to honour Ruby’s memory and do something to help and encourage others who may have had the same experience. I would like to raise money for the fantastic work that Meningitis Now do and raise awareness of this disease.”
Despite a difficult few years Connor managed to get and then hold down a part-time job at Kettleby Foods and another working for a local window cleaner. Employment helped but in his free time it was substances he turned to.
In April last year Connor, now 21, was made aware of Me And My Learning - a project in Melton that aims to help people move on in their lives and achieve their goals.
He said: “I knew I needed to do something, I just couldn’t go on doing what I was doing. At the end of the day I wanted Ruby to look down and be proud of the man her dad had become. So I phoned the number on the card, arranged an appointment and went to see what help I could get.
“It was good to talk to someone. My worker and I looked at my goals and what I wanted and needed and somehow, over the next few months, I stopped doing the things that were making me unwell and causing me problems.
“After about six months of seeing my worker I had passed my probation at work, started driving lessons and bought my own little bit of the window cleaning round. We decided I no longer needed to see her for support. Since then I’ve managed on my own and have been able to use all the money I would have spent on trying to block my emotions out on building my future. I’m even due to take my driving test any day, something I wouldn’t have thought possible before. So now it’s time to doing something special in memory of my little girl.”
Connor is set to do his skydive in Peterborough on June 25 in aid of Meningitis Now - a charity dedicated to fighting meningitis in the UK. He’s paying for the skydive himself as he wants all the money to go to the charity.
He said: “The charity is fantastic. They do research, try and change laws and also give valuable support to people like me who have lost someone they love to meningitis.
“I just want to do something that may help other parents from not having to go through what I’ve gone through”.
Malise Graham, Melton Council’s lead member for employment said; “Connor’s journey is one that every parent can identify with. It’s an inspiring example of someone overcoming personal barriers and tragedy to give back and help others facing a similar journey. We’re proud to show our support for Connor’s skydive in aid of Meningitis Now.”
You can sponsor Connor via his online fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Connor-Clark1?
You can also donate via text by sending RBLU73 and stating your amount £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.
Connor is also urging people to sign an online petition, calling on the Government to give the meningitis B vaccine to all children, not just new-born babies.
To sign the petition visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/108072
For more about Meningitis Now and the work it does visit www.meningitisnow.org