A MOTHER is planning to run the Great North Run for a charity which helped her newborn twins battle meningitis, saying "the things we saw them go through will never leave our memories".

Rachael Holgate's twin girls Rita and Nancy were born in September 2016. The Darlington mum said they were “perfect” and took them home.

The Northern Echo:

But when a midwife came to check on the newborn babies, she found Nancy was burning up. The two girls were taken immediately to hospital where things took a terrifying turn for the worse.

“We went straight to the children’s day ward and after she was stripped down they asked if her skin was always this mottled,” said Mrs Holgate.

“Moments later, in my husband’s arms, she stopped breathing.”

The next two days were a blur for Mrs Holgate and husband James, especially when Nancy’s twin Rita’s temperature also shot up and she was admitted alongside her sister.

“The things we saw them go through will never leave our memories, the scars on their hands from so many transfusions and medications will always remind us," she said.

“But their faces and their smiles will always remind us of how lucky we are”.

Now, three years on, Rita and Nancy are two “wonderful, bright” almost three-year-olds – and Rachael is in training for her run.

The Northern Echo:

“I am not a runner – never have been. I’ve never even watched a marathon let alone run one.

“However when looking for a way to raise money for Meningitis Now, I scrolled their events and the Great North Run kept cropping up and I kept thinking perhaps that’s what I should do. Maybe the endurance, the pain, the training that I will have to do will make people want to sponsor me.

“I have been overwhelmed so far as I was worried at one point that I wouldn’t make my pledge. People have so many folk to sponsor – and yet so many have chosen to support my efforts, which I’m thrilled about."

Meningitis Now is the only charity dedicated to fighting meningitis in the UK and hopes to give everyone affected the support they need to rebuild their lives

For more information about Meningitis Now, visit www.meningitisnow.org or call 0808 80 10 388.