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Rickingall mum holds talk and walk to raise awareness of Group B Strep

Ame Jenkins with her two daughters, 17-month-old Ellyse and seven-year-old Lilee (3219215)
Ame Jenkins with her two daughters, 17-month-old Ellyse and seven-year-old Lilee (3219215)

A Rickinghall mum has been raising awareness of a preventable condition which affects newborn babies, after her daughter was taken ill just hours after birth.

Ame Jenkins, 26, gave a talk at King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, last week to tell of her experience with Group B Strep – a common bacteria which can cause serious infection if passed on to babies by their mothers during labour.

The bacteria led to Ame’s eldest daughter Lilee, now seven, being treated for meningitis and septicaemia as a baby and has left her with a weakened immune system.

“Lilee’s first two years were extremely difficult and we were in and out of hospital a lot. I am so thankful that Lilee is okay now but some parents aren’t that lucky,” said Ame, who is also mum to 17-month-old Ellyse.

“I just think these students are going to become the future doctors, nurses and midwives and the majority of them will become parents so informing young people about it is very important to me.”

Ame, who is an ambassador for the Group B Strep Support charity (GBSS), wants to encourage pregnant women to pay £35 for a swab test which can detect the bacteria, meaning that the appropriate antibiotics can be prescribed during labour to prevent it being passed on.

“The ultimate goal is for Group B Strep to be routinely tested for on the NHS but for now we just want to take baby steps to that and £35 is nothing when it comes to the health of your child. I would have done it if I knew,” said Ame.

“The important thing is word of mouth. I had never heard of Group B Strep and the charity has helped so much. I want other women to have access to that if they need it.”

Ame has organised the GBSS Stomp, a 3km walk in Nowton Park, which will take place from 11am until 1pm on Sunday, August 12.

For more information about Group B Strep and to buy tickets for the Stomp, visit www.gbss.org.uk/burystedstomp

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