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Alice H's Story

12th March 2024

Alice reached out to Meningitis Now for support while recovering from viral meningitis. She is now preparing to run a half-marathon, duathlon and triathlon to raise money and awareness.

Alice H's Story

"I've seen stories from people who have had meningitis and haven't had any guidance on what to expect afterwards. I'd hate for anyone to have had meningitis and not have resources or support because it just completely made the difference for me."

“It was a typical weekend in March last year. I had been to see one of my friends during the day, we’d been out horse riding and had a nice lunch together.

"Then I'd gone back home and another one of my friends was coming to stay over. We were going to get some food then come back and have a bit of a girls evening.

"I fell asleep on the sofa while we watched a film, which is unlike me. And when I woke up, I had a really weird pain in my neck. I thought I had just slept funny so went to bed, but woke up the next morning with the most intense headache I've ever had.

Struggled with bright lights

"I thought maybe I was just getting a cold, so I took some paracetamol and went about my day.

"I went for a walk with my boyfriend but I kept having to sit down. So, I had a nap thinking some rest would sort it out, but I woke up and I just felt even worse.

"I was starting to struggle with bright lights, so I had all the curtains drawn, and then as the evening went on, I felt worse. I started getting stiff and the headache just hadn't gone.

"I called 111 and they booked me an urgent care appointment to get it checked out. Thankfully I lived 5 minutes from the hospital so just wandered over there and I sat in there for maybe an hour and a half.

40 degree fever

"Hospitals are very warm places, and I was sat in a big puffy coat, shivering because I felt cold and awful.

"I saw the doctor who told me it was just migraine and would send me home with a prescription. But as he was about to show me the door, I said I felt clammy and asked if he could just check my temperature because I really didn’t feel right.

"He checked it. And I won't forget the look on his face – his expression just dropped - the thermometer he had started beeping. I had a 40 degree fever.

Septic shock

"He sent me to A&E where they saw me right away, by that point I had started throwing up.

"I don't really remember everything that happened, but they said I was in the first stage of septic shock because I had a really high heart rate and really low blood pressure.

"Then I got taken straight to a little room in A&E and people were hooking me up to all sorts of machines and getting different drugs.

Contacted Meningitis Now

"I was given steroids and painkillers and throughout that night I had a CT scan, then an x-ray and different tests. I spent about a week on a ward and then I had a lumbar puncture and they told me I had had viral meningitis.

"Then I went home and no one from the hospital said anything more about it, and that's when I contacted Meningitis Now because I was a bit like ‘but what now?’

"I still felt awful. I got signed off from work for a couple of weeks and then did a phased return – but I still had really bad headaches afterwards and had a big lump on my back from my lumbar puncture.


"I had a couple of conversations with someone in the Community Support team from Meningitis Now, and she was great. The way she described it was really helpful - she said if I had broken my leg, I wouldn't be trying to run around on it a few weeks afterwards.

"She explained I had basically had a brain infection and I needed to think about it the same way I would think about a broken leg or arm and not power through. And that really helped, because I wanted so badly to get back to normal. It was really hard to not be able to do the things I could normally do.

"So that reassurance absolutely changed the game in terms of my recovery. And the recovery took a long time - last summer it was just like I had no energy. It just snaps out of you because your body's putting all that energy into healing itself, so you don’t have a lot else to give for other things


"Now that I’m returning to running and exercise, I thought it would be nice to do something for Meningitis Now and raise awareness, so I’m doing a half-marathon, duathlon and triathlon.

"I'm obviously running a lot slower than I used to do, which is fine. I’m quite a goal orientated person. so it was important for my recovery to have something to aim towards. It's just about completing the event, it's not about the time it takes.

"I've seen stories from other people who have had meningitis and haven't had any guidance on what to expect afterwards. I'd hate for anyone to have had meningitis and not have resources or support because it just completely made the difference for me.

"I’ll be wearing my Meningitis Now running top – and even if just one person looks at the charity after that and donates or reads about the signs and symptoms so they can catch them early, it'll make a difference. That's why I want to do it.”

If you’d like to support Alice’s incredible fundraising efforts please visit her fundraising page. And to find out more about fundraising for Meningitis Now, you can have a look at events, opportunities and other ways you can get involved on our website. or get in touch with our Fundraising team on fundraising@meningitisnow.org.