Saints ace James Roby has thrown his weight behind a charity very close to his heart.
Roby nearly lost his son Ollie to meningitis caused by group B Strep shortly after he was born but a speedy diagnosis meant he received the life-saving treatment he needed.
Now the England hooker is lending his support to the Group B Strep Support and helping to raise much needed awareness of this devastating infection.
James said: “It is an honour to be invited to be a Patron of Group B Strep Support. It is a charity that is close to our hearts as our son Ollie was very poorly with group B Strep infection as a baby.
“I was neither informed, nor had heard about group B Strep before Ollie became so ill. Luckily he has made a full recovery but not all babies do.
“Group B Strep infection is usually preventable. I want to be make sure that other families do not have to go through the same trauma and will be raising awareness so they are aware and informed.”
Group B Strep is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies and of meningitis in babies up to the age of 3 months, yet almost half of pregnant women have not heard about it. At least 500 babies a year in the UK are infected with group B Strep; of these, one in 10 sick babies die.
Jane Plumb, chief executive of Group B Strep Support, said: “The charity is thrilled to welcome James as a new Patron. He is not only a highly regarded rugby player but also a lovely, caring father and I have enjoyed getting to know him over the last few years.
“He has raised much-needed funds for the charity, and he has brought the issue to a whole new audience.”