A Bushey man is taking part in a fun run next month to raise awareness of the infection that killed his baby boy.
James Tomkins was just 20 days old when he died from what a post mortem later revealed to be a Group B Streptococcus infection (GBS), manifested in the form of Meningitis.
His mother woke to find one side of his face had turned purple and he had stopped breathing.
Despite being rushed to Watford General Hospital, at 6am, on April 28, he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
His father, Lee Tomkins, will take on the Watford Big Fun Run, on Saturday, October 2, in the hope of raising awareness of what is the most common life-threatening infection in newborn babies in the UK.
The 36-year-old engineer, of Vale Road, said: “The loss of a child is so profound, it is impossible to articulate verbally or in writing. We do not want anyone else to have to endure what we have.
"If we had known about GBS before James was born, it may have been possible to prevent his infection.”
According to charity Group B Strep Support, GBS infects up to 700 babies a year, killing up to 75 of them and leaving another 40 with serious long-term mental or physical problems.
However, awareness of the infection, which can be passed on during or after the pregnancy, is low.
Lee's 35-year-old wife Pam, an NHS project manager, said the fun run will be an emotional occasion for the couple, but also a day to be proud of their son.
She said: “When you have a baby you want to look after and protect them. The run allows us a chance to still do something for him, even though he is no longer with us.”
Lee will be joined by nine of his friends and family on the five-kilometre run, which takes place in Cassiobury Park, Watford, on October 2.
Pam added: “It will be interesting to see how they get on. Most of them haven't run for a bus before so it won't be easy. The event has been a big focus for us and we just hope we can raise as much money and awareness as possible.”
To sponsor Lee, click here.