The partner of a Morecambe chef who died suddenly from meningitis has spoken of the heartbreaking final moments the couple spent together.
Lee Jordan died as a result of pneumacoccal meningitis, an infectious disease which causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord.
Stephanie Jones-Farley spent a final evening with Lee watching their favourite TV show – hours after the 41-year-old was officially pronounced brain dead.
Football fan Lee was dressed in his beloved Millwall FC shirt and Stephanie was allowed to sleep in his hospital bed.
“The doctors were all great,” she said. “England were playing that night and they put a TV in the room and turned his head towards it.
“We also watched the last episode of Game of Thrones together.”
Stephanie is now hoping to raise awareness of the disease which took Lee’s life without warning in June.
Lee had taken ill with sickness and diarrhoea a few days earlier, but showed no other symptoms typically related to meningitis.
He went on to save four other people’s lives following his death, after his heart, liver and kidneys were all donated.
Stephanie has now organised a charity event in Lee’s memory at the King’s Arms in Morecambe, where he was a chef.
Lee had moved to the area from London a few years ago.
His son Frankie, 17, and daughter Isabelle, 12, still live in London, as well as his sister, while his parents live in Spain.
Stephanie, 32, and Lee had been together since February, although had been close friends for some time.
Mum-of-three Stephanie, who has also worked at the King’s Arms for the last 15 years, said: “He had sickness and diarrhoea for a few days. It started when he was sick on the Tuesday.
“He went to the doctor’s on the Thursday and they said it was a stomach bug. He was given antibiotics and told to bring a stool sample back in the next day.
“On the Friday morning he got up at 5am to do the sample and then went back to sleep.
“I took the kids to school and when I got back I couldn’t rouse him. He was wailing and moaning and I was trying to get him up and dressed to take him to A&E.
“I phoned a friend to get some help and as soon as he saw Lee he said to call an ambulance.”
When paramedics arrived at Stephanie’s house in Morecambe, they sedated Lee, and he tragically never regained consciousness after he was put into an enforced coma when he arrived at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
A year earlier, Lee had been treated for a non-cancerous tumour on his face, but doctors quickly ruled out any connection, and a brain scan later showed that he had an infection on the brain.
He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital’s critical care unit that evening.
“By the time we had got there in a car Lee was already in surgery having fluid drained off his brain,” Stephanie said.
“He had to have part of his skull removed to relieve the pressure.
“At 3am we were taken into a room and told that he was brain dead. They took us in to see him and he was hooked up to all these machines.”
Having been given the devastating news, Stephanie and Lee’s family were then asked to make the difficult decision to let Lee’s organs be used to help others.
As a result, his heart, liver and both kidneys were all used, and his corneas were also taken to be stored for use within the next two years.
“He didn’t carry a donor card but we knew he would have wanted to do that if he could,” Stephanie said. “If Lee had needed an organ we would have snapped it up so we couldn’t deny anyone else his organs.
“A few hours later they said his heart was already beating in somebody else.”
Stephanie was later sent a letter by the hospital which told her a 50-year-old man had received Lee’s heart, a 40-year-old man received his liver and his kidneys went to two women.
Doctors carried out tests on Monday June 27 which officially pronounced Lee as brain dead.
Stephanie was told Lee’s meningitis could have come from something as simple as a scratch or a graze.
The infection then travelled to his bloodstream and brain.
Stephanie now wants to raise awareness of hos quickly the disease can strike, as well as raise money for the Meningitis Now charity.
She is holding a charity night at the King’s Arms on December 19, which will include a raffle, auction, quiz and tombola.
She is also planning a Calendar Girls style King’s Arms calendar.
“Trying to raise money and awareness of meningitis is my way of coping,” she said. “It’s the only thing that’s keeping me going at the moment.
“If it helps just one person to be more aware of the signs then it’s worth it.
“I blamed myself for a long time after Lee died because I felt like I should have made him go to the doctor’s sooner.
“All I hope is that he just fell asleep and wasn’t aware of what was happening, and at least we all got to spend some time with him at the end.”
Lee’s son Frankie has also organised a 5km run in Dartford on October 23, which he hopes will become an annual event.
Lee also has a Forever Fund online page which anyone can donate to at lee.jordan.muchloved.com.