Parents' stories

Amelia Vitiello

President of the Italian Association Liberi dalla Meningite

Amelia Vitiello’s daughter Alessia was healthy, only coming down with the occasional cold. The day she became ill, began with a slight fever but tragically ended in less than 11 hours, when she passed away. Alessia was affected by sepsis due to meningitis B, Water House syndrome. She would have been 18 months the following day. Alessia loved to draw and was always drawing little butterflies in different colours. It was one of these butterflies that became part of the symbol of the association that Amelia founded in her memory.

Jas Purba

Jas Purba lost her daughter Paawan when she contracted the MenW (meningococcal group W) strain of meningitis. She was just 20 years old and about to start the second year of her pharmacology degree at the University of East London, in August 2016, when she suddenly became ill. At first her symptoms seemed nothing more than flu. Less than 48 hours after her first symptoms appeared, she died in hospital. Following her passing, her heartbroken family launched an online fundraising site, raising more than £15,000 for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

Sass Pledger

Sass Pledger has had meningitis strike her family three times. She had viral meningitis herself and her daughter and father-in-law both survived bacterial meningitis. Georgiana, Sass’ daughter, was just 10 weeks old. “Something didn’t feel right so I rushed her to A&E at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Her condition worsened and the consultants became concerned. They performed a lumbar puncture, which confirmed bacterial meningitis. By the time the treatment began with IV antibiotics, the horrid rash had started to appear. I spent a week at her bedside. My tiny baby was so vulnerable and unwell. I had never felt so devastated and I will never forget those days.” “Meningitis is quite a rare disease and it’s very unusual for one family to have so many people affected by it. We were lucky that we all got off lightly; so many others have been affected more severely, and lost those that they love.” In 2017, Sass completed the London marathon to raise funds for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

Matt's story

"I feel passionate about standing behind a campaign which uses the power and influence of sport and its ability to reach people of all ages. Together we can Tackle Meningitis to give families the best fighting chance against this devastating disease."

Rugby superstar Matt Dawson has first-hand experience of meningitis after his two-year old son, Sami, contracted meningitis in February last year and remained critically ill for two weeks afterwards.

Now you are armed with important information about meningitis, you can work with Matt to share your knowledge with other parents and communities to Tackle Meningitis.

Support Matt Dawson to tackle meningitis