Marcus Cruz was a “loud, funny and creative” boy whose life was cut short by a terrible disease.
His grieving mother is speaking out in the hope that no other family has to endure the pain she, her husband and their two other sons have gone through.
Evelyn’s Cruz’s seven-year-old son died at Campbelltown Hospital in late October after contracting meningococcal disease.
The Narellan Public School student first showed signs of illness on Wednesday, October 24 and was pronounced dead by 9.45am on Friday, October 26.
“We had no clue of any signs to look out for,” Mrs Cruz said.
“We did not get the chance to see Marcus fight it – it took over and we had nothing to indicate it would be something so severe or life-threatening.
“We felt it happened so quickly.”
Mrs Cruz, from Narellan in south-west Sydney, said the only symptoms Marcus showed were vomiting, a light fever and a sore knee with slight swelling.
She said he displayed no sensitivity to light, no headaches, no loss of appetite and no markings until the morning of his death.
“Marcus rarely got sick, he was super healthy,” she said.
“None of my kids had ever been in hospital apart from when they were born.
“Marcus was born with only one kidney and yet he had never had any health problems apart from the occasional flu – but even they were few.”
Mrs Cruz said it was important parents read as much about meningococcal as they could.
“My advice is to be aware of all that is out there,” she said.
This is a parent’s worst nightmare and I don’t want anyone else to go through this heartache.
Marcus was the youngest of John and Evelyn Cruz’s three boys, behind 21-year-old Givoni and 19-year-old Kalvin.
“Marcus was our joy, and it was more like he had four loving parents,” Mrs Cruz said.
“He called both of his brothers his best friends. He was my beautiful baby boy and a sidekick to his dad.
“Marcus loved puzzles, games and reading. He was super active and for the last three years he worked hard to reach blue belt in kenpo.
“He already had a travel bug and we were happy we had the opportunity to take him to take him to a few places. He was looking forward to spending Christmas in Hawaii where we had planned to be as a family this year.”
Marcus was farewelled in a funeral on Wednesday, November 5 at Bringelly Community Centre.
Parents can find all the information they need to know about meningococcal here.