Disease costs woman both hands and feet

IT started with a headache and a sore throat and ended with Marguerite Rampton losing her hands and part of her legs.

Almost four years ago, the Dundathu woman took her grandchildren to to hockey but she started feeling unwell.

When she got home Marguerite told her husband Lea she had a migraine and she needed to lie down.

A while later, Lea heard a crash from the direction of the bathroom. Marguerite had collapsed.

Lea put his wife in the recovery position and called an ambulance.

"I was just barely hanging on," Marguerite said.

She was raced to Hervey Bay Hospital where tests were carried out that diagnosed her with meningococcal disease.

Marguerite said she woke up in the burns unit at Brisbane Royal and Women's Hopital and saw her extremities deteriorate as septicaemia poisoned her hands and feet.

The doctors caring for her had to wait until the disease had done its worst before they could determine how much of Marguerite's arms and legs they could save.

The couple said without the support of their four children, their grandchildren and the community, they would have struggled to cope.

"That's what kept me going," Marguerite said.

The worst moment for her came when she was fitted for her prosthetic legs.

Seeing the legs she would now need to wear to get around made it all real and as she was wheeled into the cafeteria in the hospital with the legs resting in her lap, she felt as though everyone was looking at her.

She was reduced to tears as the reality of what had happened to her sunk in.

"After that I made up my mind that I would toughen up," Marguerite said.

Lea and Marguerite both have a passion for hockey - Lea was president of Maryborough Hockey for four years - and she found that comparing her situation to the game she loved helped get her through.

Marguerite said the doctors and nurses who cared for her were like members of her team.

"And I don't like letting the team down," she said.

Marguerite will undergo further surgery in April to try to increase functionality for one of her hands.

The community has thrown its support behind the couple since Marguerite came home from hospital, with a rotary club helping to make adjustments to their homes and the Maryborough Lioness Club purchasing a special chair for her.

Now Hervey Bay Sunrise Rotary Club is hosting the Phoenix Charity Ball, with funds to go towards assisting with transportation for Marguerite.

Lea and Marguerite said they had loved balls in their younger days and they were thrilled that the community wanted to help them.

The event will be held on March 25 from 6pm at Maryborough City Hall.

Tickets will cost $55 for dancing and supper, while a premium ticket will cost $97 and will include dancing, supper, welcome drink, hors- d'oeuvres and photos.

Tickets are available at

Topics:  amputee editors picks fccommunity general-seniors-news meningococcal

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