Jacqui Clarke grateful for life after fight with meningococcal

Survivor: Jacqui Clarke undergoes dialysis at Murray Bridge Soldiers' Memorial Hospital after a fierce bout with meningococcal. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Survivor: Jacqui Clarke undergoes dialysis at Murray Bridge Soldiers' Memorial Hospital after a fierce bout with meningococcal. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

When Jacqui Clarke opened her eyes, she was confused to find herself in hospital in Adelaide.

Then her husband told her what month it was.

She did not understand what was going on, did not realise all her toes and several of her fingers were missing, and had a head full of nightmares brought on by the drugs that had kept her in a coma while she fought a life-and-death battle with meningococcal.

She had started to feel unwell after work one evening, wound up in hospital later that night, but it was not until her husband spotted a telltale purple mark that the doctors realised her blood was congealing inside her body.

Her friend and colleague Michelle Gibbs visited her in the hospital the next day.

"It was one of the most confronting situations I have ever experienced," she said.

"If I wasn't told it was Jacqui I wouldn't have known it was her.

"Those that were there that day were told to say goodbye to her, which was an extremely difficult process and one I never want to experience again.

"Little did I know she was a fighter."

Since she woke up in August, Jacqui said her life had changed in every way.

She spends three days per week in dialysis at the Murray Bridge hospital, her liver and heart have had problems and she has had to re-learn how to move around.

"You can't go shopping on your own any more, can't drive on my own, can't just get up and grab what you want from the fridge," she said.

"We used to like going camping and fishing, that sort of thing.

"We will still try ... but it won't be as easy as what it used to be."

Mrs Gibbs was so inspired by Jacqui's courage that she, with the Rural City of Murray Bridge's staff social club and Murraylands Apex Club, organised a fundraiser to aid her recovery.

Furniture, kitchenware, clothing and a sausage sizzle will be on offer outside the council office on Seventh Street from 8am to 12 noon this Saturday.

Proceeds will help the Clarkes remodel their home - widening doorways, modifying the bathroom and installing a scissor lift - to make it easier for Jacqui to get around.

The woman of the hour will not be able to make it in person, but she thanked everyone who had offered support or sent well-wishes.

"It has got to be one of the worst diseases ever," she said.

"But, as everyone says, I'm lucky to be alive."