A FAMILY who had an 'agonising wait' to find out whether their son had meningitis have thanked OX5 Run fundraisers for paying for a vital new machine.

When Rory Barnes was just two weeks old he was taken to Oxford Children's Hospital after developing a high temperature in November.

Doctors feared it could have been meningitis and little Rory had a lumbar puncture and two different IV antibiotics.

But it took the best part of three days to properly diagnose the youngster.

His mum Stephanie Barnes said: "It was an agonising wait - one of the doctors said it might be meningitis and as soon as you hear that word you start to worry it's very serious.

"Thankfully it wasn't but he did have blood poisoning as a result of an infection but he battled through."

She added: "It was a truly terrifying time."

Money from last year's OX5 Run has now provided a new piece of equipment - a BioFire machine - which can diagnose meningitis and sepsis - which Rory had - in just two hours.

The 35-year-old, from Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, near Wallingford, said: "It will be great for families in the future, they will find out and receive the right treatment in two hours, rather than the 36 hour wait we had.

"Our story would have been much less stressful with the machine and the fundraising will really make a huge difference for any other families unfortunate enough to go through the same thing."

The commissioning editor at Oxford University Press has signed up to the OX5 Run at Blenheim Palace later this month and will be walking the course with husband James and three-year-old daughter Maisie.

She said the family wanted to thank staff and fundraise for others in the future.

She said: "They were brilliant, we didn't realise how serious it was because they were very calm and collected.

"The doctors are great of course but it's the nurses that are always there for you.

"Signing up for the OX5 was the least we could do really to say thank you and raise money."

"Rory is doing great, he's a strapping four-month-old boy and he's really thriving.

"It's nice knowing an amazing facility is there and we are so lucky it's close by.

The OX5 Run, which this year takes place on Sunday, March 25, has raised close to £1m since it began in 2003.

Aside from vital equipment, the funds also pay for toys, games and play specialists to make patients as comfortable as possible.

Sarah Vaccari, from the Oxford Children's Hospital charity, said: "We are incredibly proud that thanks to fundraising from last year’s OX5 Run we have been able to buy this very special equipment that diagnoses meningitis so much more quickly.

"Before this you would treat young patients suspected of having meningitis as if they definitely had it, as you can’t take risks with this serious condition. This can be unpleasant for the child and really worrying for the parents.

"But the BioFire machine can diagnose meningitis in just two hours, rather than two to three days, which means parents know quickly whether their child has the condition and the child will only receive the treatment they really need.

She added: "All this thanks to people running five miles around Blenheim Palace."

To sign up to take part or for further details visit ox5run.co.uk