Meningitis Now Young Ambassador Rosie Heaton

My name’s Rosie, and I’m 18

Rosie 2nd December 2015

Today I’ve been asked to tell you my story

Rosie Heaton Letterbox
When I was five, like any other child, I played with my friends at school.  

By age six, it was becoming clear I was a bit of a teacher’s pet, enjoyed going to the park and being a brownie, playing with my baby sister, and, for a few years I did every extra curricular activity under the sun.

When I was seven, I got meningitis. 

I was in ICU for a while, and there’s no denying I was ill, but we were so grateful that I woke up, made a recovery and had my arms and legs, and that my brain was still seemingly in tact.

By the time I was eight, my parents were told I had chronic kidney disease. I spent a lot of time in hospital.

By age nine, I had been told I had M.E. I was told to stop doing athletics, and to stop going to brownies, to stop going out to play at break… in order to keep me well enough to actually go to school.

Aged 11, and after a massive relapse after the change to high school. I no longer attended school. Instead I received an hours home tuition a week and was mostly confined to my house and my bed.

At 14, through a Meningitis Now family day, I met my best friend, who taught me that life didn’t have to stop just because I’d had meningitis. I COULD make a difference despite my illnesses, and the need for awareness of this disease was highlighted. 

I was taught that if we could save one life from giving out awareness cards on a rainy Saturday morning, our work would be worth it.

By age 15, my friend had died from the after-effects of his meningitis, 10 years after originally having it. I pledged to carry on in his place.

The point i’m trying to highlight here, is that as dark as my ‘story’ seems on first glance, there have been times of light all the way through - often these times of light were provided by Meningitis Now.

The charity has given me, and most importantly my family, support since day one. 

The North West’s community support officer has been a source of help and advice, and a friend since this began. When I was isolated because I wasn’t well enough to go to school, because of meningitis, I was offered art therapy. 

I met people in similar situations through Meningitis Now’s family days. I was offered counselling and each year a carol concert is held where people can meet people in similar situations.  

Without funds, this would be impossible to achieve, but the fact is, support like this, to people who need it, is priceless. 

I’m Rosie, I’m now 18, and Meningitis Now have offered me a future. 

I’m proud to say that I am a futures builder, and I hope that you will join me to support a great cause like Meningitis Now and help other people, like me, to rebuild their lives after such trauma.