A COURAGEOUS Crewe mum is fighting to help raise awareness of meningitis after losing her baby son to the deadly illness.

Katy Mann, aged 31, of Wistaston, has vowed to do all she can to ensure no other family has to go through such an ordeal.

She and her husband Chris have responded to the tragedy by thowing themselves into raising awareness of the disease and raising funds for research.

Katy has bravely put her thoughts on a blog and Charlie’s fate has already touched the hearts of thousands of people around the world.

One of those to express her support is Sarah Brown, wife of the former Prime Minister.

The story has also been picked up by various media, including an American TV station.

In a few short weeks donations and pledges to Charlie’s Fund have reached more than £7,000.

Katy thought she knew all the symptoms of meningitis, but the only one displayed by 15-week-old Charlie was a temperature.

Within days he was dead, despite the efforts of medical staff at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Katy and husband Chris had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off the ventilator which was helping their son breathe, after being told the meningitis had spread throughout his brain and there was no hope.

Katy said: “I had to cradle Charlie in my arms as the life-support machine was switched off.

“Chris and I don’t want other families to suffer in the same way.

“We knew a little bit about meningitis and knew to look out for rashes and other symptoms when he was unwell.

“But Charlie did not have a rash and neither our GP nor the local hospital could find any trace of the disease.

“It was only when they did a lumbar puncture that they found the truth and by the time the symptoms showed, it was too late.”

Katy has been married for five years and has another son James, three.

She told how they were delighted when Charlie was born: “He was a big, healthy baby but on October 17, I noticed he had a temperature.

“It got worse and we took him to the doctor but there were no other symptoms.

“It was on October 22 that it got bad and we took him to the local hospital where they did tests. Immediately they contacted the team at Alder Hey and they collected him the following day.

“He was in intensive care and they did tests. They showed us the scans and every part of his brain was affected.

“We were devastated.

“It was the worst outcome but we still didn’t know exactly what it meant for Charlie on a day to day basis.

“We knew it was very severe brain damage but we didn’t know if there was anything he would be able to do.

“Charlie's last day with us, on October 28, was very emotional. His passing was very peaceful and he died in our arms.”

Katy’s blog can be found at: http://charliecheekychops.blogspot.com She said: “People are emailing me and logging on to the website from all over the world.

“We have had 18,000 hits so far. It is extraordinary. I never thought it would develop like this, I just thought my friends would look at it but it has really snowballed.

“Sarah Brown sent us a Tweet saying she was very sorry for our loss and wishing us well in the campaign.”