The mum of a five-year-old girl who died just before Christmas has paid tribute to her daughter.
Ava Macfarlane, who lived in Edwinstowe Drive, Sherwood, died of sepsis on December 15.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.
Ava initially developed an invasive streptococcal (strep A) infection which led to the sepsis.
Streptococcal infections are any type of infection caused by streptococcus bacteria.
The infections vary in severity from mild throat infections to life-threatening infections of the blood or organs.
Ava’s mum Lesley Gearing, 43, was her full-time carer.
She said: “She was determined and stubborn. When she was born I was told she had Down’s Syndrome, they give you a talk about how she might not be able to do this or that.
“In my head, my determination was she’s at least going to try to do everything. Getting her to walk, it was like she wanted to walk, but the co-ordination wasn’t there. In her head she wanted to do everything, but sometimes it took her longer to find a way to do it.
Lesley Gearing wants to raise awareness about sepsis after her daughter Ava died of sepsis.
“She was just learning to run and had learnt to jump. She could talk. We were at the stage where we were doing small sentences. You could have a conversation with her and ask her questions. The understanding was there and the speech was coming with it.
“She was five-and-three-quarters, we had just taught her to say she was five-and-three-quarters. It’s like there’s a hole and no-one knows how to fill it.
“She was always happy and never grumpy. She always had a go at everything and loved being outside. She loved music – she was really, really happy. There’s nothing she would not try or do.”
Ms Gearing said her daughter, who studied in mainstream education at Seely Primary School, Sherwood, initially had a cold – but her symptoms got worse.
She said she took Ava to the Queen’s Medical Centre on Thursday, December 14, but they came home.
Ava Macfarlane with mum Lesley Gearing.
Ms Gearing said Ava’s condition got worse as she started having “severe diarrhoea”.
She was diagnosed with sepsis by medics the following day and later died.
Ms Gearing said: “I was devastated that she died. The intensive care unit told us they were not sure it was meningitis. Her body was grey to start with and then she went bright purple all over.
“The only place it had not touched was her hands and face. It looked like she had been burnt.
“Ava’s immune system was weak because of the Down’s Syndrome. She had a cold and from there caught sepsis because her little body could not fight the cold or the Step A. So the sepsis kicked in.
“She had a snotty nose [throughout] December. That was not unusual. But because her immune system was weaker than ours… her little heart couldn’t take anymore.”
Ava had four step-siblings from her parents’ previous relationships: Mitchell Walker, 17, Mia Walker, 16, Kyle Macfarlane, 19, and Joshua Macfarlane, 16.
An online fundraising page, hoping to raise £2,000, has been set up by family friend Elaine Allitt.
The money will help to pay for a headstone for Ava, and some of it will also go to the UK Sepsis Trust charity, to raise awareness of the condition.
So far, £1,515 has been raised, and the headstone will be placed by Ava’s grave at Wilford Hill Crematorium.
Mrs Allitt, 42, a bus driver of Marsden Close, Bulwell, said: “I have known Ava since she was born.
“When I heard what had happened I felt like I needed to do something for Ava. I loved her like she was one of my own children. What a great little girl; I was lucky to have her in my life for five-and-three-quarter years. I will count them for the rest of my life.”
She added: “People need to look for these symptoms. You can never be over overcautious when it comes to kids.”