Meningitis is a devastating disease both for the person suffering and their families. Many people are affected by it in the UK every year and every family has a story to tell.
Jas 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).
Amelia’s daughter, Alessia, was healthy and only came 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 septicaemia (blood poisioning) due to meningitis B and Water House syndrome.
Alessia would have been 18 months old the following day. She 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.
Sass has had meningitis strike her family three times. She had viral meningitis herself and her father-in-law and her daughter, Georgiana, both survived bacterial meningitis.
Georgiana was just 10 weeks old. “Something didn’t feel right so I rushed her to A&E. 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.”