A DAD struck down by a deadly brain bug has made a miracle recovery.

Ross Smith, 37, from Weymouth was declared brain dead after contracting bacterial meningitis, prompting relatives to make funeral plans.

But Ross, who has a six-year-old son, amazed Dorset County Hospital staff with a remarkable turnaround in his condition which came after he was visited by family and friends urging him to get well.

Now friends are organising a sponsored walk to raise awareness of the condition, which can strike healthy people at any time.

While Ross’s recovery will take time, family and friends are delighted and relieved he is back from the brink of death. He is improving each day and has been able to sit up and talk, even sending his sister a text message.

Always the joker, he has been entertaining hospital staff and remains upbeat.

Popular Ross, of Abbotsbury Road, previously worked installing solar panels and at Lidl.

Ross complained of headaches at the end of last month before resting at his bedsit. He then suffered seizures for more than five hours before being discovered.

Ross’s sister Kerry Alexander, 43, said he was put in an induced coma where doctors found major brain swelling affecting his spinal cord.

Kerry said: “We were told he wouldn’t make it. My brother and I are very close and I was distraught. We kept a vigil at his bedside. As time went on more scans were done and we were told there was brain damage and it was unlikely he’d pull through.

“By the end of the week we were told he was brain dead. There was talk of switching the machine off and even funeral plans.

“I visited him at night and whispered to him, told him to give the nurse a sign. The following day he opened his eyes and his mouth when he was asked. By Sunday he mouthed ‘bye’ to us as we left.”

Over the last fortnight, Ross has been moved to a general ward.

Kerry added: “His recovery has been nothing short of a miracle. He has a long way to go and has lost a lot of weight and will be in hospital for another four weeks minimum. We don’t know yet what the long-term effects will be but the fact he’s like he is now is amazing.”

Former Royal Manor School pupil Ross, is the son of Lesley and Michael. He also has a brother Mark, 41.

Kerry said: “When he sent me a text I cried, it was so emotional. We’re delighted he’s back.”

Friends sign up for Sponsored walk to raise funds for unit

FRIENDS are organising a sponsored walk for Ross Smith from West Bay to Portland on Saturday, November 3.

Ross’s childhood friend Ben Griffiths from Portland wanted to do something to help after seeing him in a coma in hospital.

Ben had initially planned to do the walk alone but more than 50 others have also signed up. Pages on Facebook and JustGiving have been launched to support the effort, and a rave night is being organised.

Businesses including Bluebird Coaches and Portland Stone Ltd are supporting the event, which is raising money for DCH’s intensive care unit and Meningitis UK.

Ben, 40, said: “This has really taken off. I didn’t realise how popular Ross was until after I set up the Facebook page. He has a big circle of friends and they all want to help.”

To support the event search for Sponsored Walk for Ross Smith/ Intensive Care Unit on Facebook, email chriffie.xx@btopenworld.com or donate to Ross Smith ICU Fund at Lloyds Bank sort code 309956 account number 35810988.