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Marathon effort for family raising awareness of infection that left daughter close to death

Mark, Libbie and Viki Gorton

A Stoke-on-Trent family are raising awareness about Group B Strep, after it left their newborn baby close to death.

Libbie Gorton was born in 2008, but within hours was seriously ill.

Unbeknown to her parents Viki and Mark, Viki had been carrying the infection which had been passed on to their daughter at birth.

Libbie developed septicemia and pneumonia, and went into organ failure.

She was on life support for two weeks, which Mark says were the longest 14 days of his life.

The family had her baptised in the hospital, due to fears she would not make it home.

Viki said: "We were told to prepare for the worst. It was every parents nightmare."

But Libbie made a full recovery, and nine years on she has been left with no long term health issues because of it. 

"We had a really amazing outcome," Viki added.

"We can't thank the staff at the North Staffs hospital enough. The care that she received was absolutely amazing.

"Other parents aren't so lucky."

The Gortons had not heard about GBS before Libbie contracted it, and now they are aiming to raise awareness of the potential dangers of the infection, which can be carried without symptoms by healthy adults.

They have been given help through the Group B Streph Support charity, who advise that intravenous antibiotics should be offered while carriers are in labour to reduce the risk of a newborn baby developing the infection.

While routine testing is not currently offered by the NHS, private testing is available.

This weekend Mark is running the London Marathon to raise awareness of the condition, as well as funds for the charity. 

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