A South Yorkshire family is campaigning to raise awareness of sepsis, following the death of an aspiring paramedic, who died after contracting the condition.
Jessica Holbrook died at her grandmother’s house, aged 23, five days after she first started complaining of a cold, sore throat and tickly cough.
Her heart-broken family, from Barnsley, are now using World Sepsis Day to speak for the first time about their loss.
Jessican’s dad Leigh, aged 49, said: “Jessica was a beautiful, bubbly person, who was very hard-working. It was her dream to become a paramedic and she was working towards that career.
“Jessica was so well-loved, not only by her family but by all her friends. None of us still can believe she has gone and that she will never get to fulfil all the dreams and ambitions she had.”
Jessica worked for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, organising routine ambulance appointments. She began feeling unwell in December last year and has been staying at the home of her grandmother one evening, as it was closer to work, when she decided to phone in sick, and booked herself an out of hours GP appointment. Throughout the night, Jessica’s condition deteriorated, and on the morning of December 14, paramedics were called to the house, where she was pronounced dead.
Her grandmother Barbara said: “During the night Jessica was restless and struggled to sleep. At first she said she was tired and cold, but then was really hot and sweaty. Later that morning she was sick and so we phoned an ambulance.
“By this point it was just manic and all a blur. The paramedics who arrived were Jessica’s friends. They did everything they could but she didn’t make it.”
A fundraiser will be held this Friday evening in Jessica’s memory, at Royston Leisure Centre Civic Hall, and in aid of UK Sepsis Trust and Barnsley Hospital’s Tiny Hearts baby appeal.
Jessica’s father Leigh added: “All of Jessica’s family are so grateful for the love and support people have shown since she died. There is not a day goes by that we don’t miss her.
“Whilst nothing can bring her back, we hope that others recognise the symptoms of sepsis before it’s too late.”
Visit ‘Dance for Jess’ on Facebook for details of this weekend’s event.