Boy who lost twin sister to meningitis 'overjoyed' after parents have another set of twinsLukas, 3, was diagnosed with meningitis just hours after his twin sister, Lili, who died from the disease in January 2011
A couple who tragically lost a baby daughter when their twins both got killer meningitis are overjoyed after having twins again.
Julie and Brian Backhouse are thrilled after giving their three-year-old son Lukas a new little brother and sister, Jamie and Amber.
Julie, 39, said last night: 'We are very lucky – and very happy.'
'Over the moon': Lukas, 3, left, with his parents Julie and Brian and twins Jamie and Amber
The family's lives were torn apart in January last year when 23-month-old Lili and her twin Lukas were struck down by deadly brain bug meningitis.
Courageous Lukas fought the disease and survived, but Lili sadly died, leaving the family devastated.
Now Julie and Brian, of Rainham, Essex, are battling to raise awareness of the lethal illness so others might not have to suffer the same heartbreak.
Housewife Julie said: 'We went back to the clinic and were lucky enough to have twins again.
Lukas was diagnosed with meningitis just hours after his twin sister, Lili, was in January last year
'We are very fortunate.
'We hadn't planned to have kids again but losing our daughter meant that we lost our perfect family.'
The mum-of-four added: 'Our son wasn't born an only child and we thought that he shouldn't have to live as an only child.'
The Backhouses rushed stricken Lili to Queen's Hospital, Romford, in January 2011.
The critically ill baby had refused her milk for the first time ever and had been making strange moaning sounds in the night. She also had a soaring temperature and looked grey.
But hospital medics failed to diagnose meningitis and told BT engineer Brian, 48, and Julie to return in a few hours if the toddler had not improved.
The frantic couple dashed back with Lili after a rash broke out all over her tiny body. But it was too late as deadly septicaemia had already set in.
Later that nightmare day, Lukas was diagnosed with meningitis too.
The seriously ill little boy was kept in hospital for a week as he fought the disease, before eventually being cured with antibiotics.
'He's really over the moon about having a new brother and sister,' Julie said, before adding: 'He really misses his twin.
'We have pictures of her which he looks at whenever he likes.
'I think that's helped him cope in the last year.'
The couple – whose sets of twins are both a result of IVF treatment – are backing a campaign by Meningitis UK to encourage parents to trust their instincts and to keep pushing doctors if they think their child has the terrifying disease.
Sorely missed: Lili, front left with her twin, Lukas, and her parents before disaster struck
They have also launched a fundraising drive for the charity in Lili's memory.
'I knew something was seriously wrong with Lili that day but I was told to come back later if she still wasn't well – so I thought there was time,' stressed Julie.
'The campaign is about encouraging parents to not feel afraid to ask for a second opinion.'
To donate to the fund, visit http://meningitisuk.tributefunds.com/fund/lili+backhouse