Mother's thanks to her son's helpers

Claire and Luca Park
Claire and Luca Park

A Whitby mother has thanked the community for their support after her son was diagnosed with a life-threatening strain of meningitis.

Football-mad Luca Park, 10, was rushed to James Cook Hospital after being knocked unconscious while playing football – and investigations revealed he had pneumococcal meningitis.

Football fanatic Luca is hoping to get back on the pitch soon.

Football fanatic Luca is hoping to get back on the pitch soon.

He has since recovered after spending 10 days in hospital, but has been left with some hearing loss as a result.


Mum Claire Park said the experience has been extremely difficult on their family but thanked everyone for their support: “It’s been an incredibly traumatic time – we were so worried – but the support we have received from our friends, Fyling Hall School and the community has really helped to pull us through.”


She reserved special praise for Luca’s football club, Fishburn Park under-11s, which undertook fundraising while he was in hospital, raising £150, some of which was used to buy Luca and his eight-year-old brother, Zachary, Liverpool shirts.


And much to Liverpool fanatic Luca’s delight, the club has also organised for his shirt to be signed by his hero Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager.


Luca’s dad, Andy Park, who manages Fishburn Park men’s side, is taking on The Great North Run later this year to raise funds for a meningitis charity – with the remaining money raised by the club going towards his run.


Claire added: “We want to say a special thank you to Adam Bell, Rob Layton and all of the parents and players associated with Fishburn Park for their compassion and support – it really has helped Luca get through.”


The opposition team from the Middlesbrough area also raised £60 for Luca for him to put towards some new football boots.

Luca was knocked unconscious on the pitch in early February following a clash of heads, which caused him to experience dizziness and vomiting. He was rushed to James Cook Hospital where he was kept overnight. But after being discharged the following day, his condition worsened and he returned to hospital where he was later diagnosed with meningitis.

He was kept in for 10 days as he had pneumococcal meningitis – a life threatening disease that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord.


As the illness was caught early, he has made a very good recovery and went back to school for the first time since the illness this week.


As captain of Fishburn Park under 11s, he’s keen to get his football boots back on and is working on building up his stamina to return to the pitch.


It is hoped that his hearing will come back as he continues his recovery.