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Help us light the way this World Meningitis Day

4th October 2023

The theme of World Meningitis Day this year is to light the road towards defeating meningitis and achieving the World Health Organisation’s goal of defeating meningitis by 2030.

World Meningitis Day 2023

Meningitis Now are proud to be lighting the way by:

  • Providing support which offers hope
  • Raising vital awareness which protects lives
  • Investing in research to help beat meningitis once and for all

Life-changing support gives families hope

Our recent Community Support Officer report shone a light on the incredible impact CSOs have on those affected by meningitis. For bereaved families, grief can threaten to block out all hope for the future but our CSOs provide a safe space to open up. This was invaluable for one respondent who lost a child to meningitis:

“To have somebody just come and sit and listen to you is just priceless, it's enormous. I've never felt the need to be listened to as much as after my son died, it's like your grief needs a voice. She came here in the privacy of my home - those visits have been the most valuable to me. I wouldn't speak on the phone to somebody unless I was desperate.”

We are incredibly proud of our four CSOs who support families across the UK. They offer a unique service which continues to be vital for those touched by meningitis.

Vital awareness-raising for students

There aren’t many examples of when social media could save lives, but our new TikTok channel is one of them. By following the channel and learning more about meningitis, students will understand the signs and symptoms and the importance of getting life-saving medical attention for themselves or their friends.

To coincide with our student campaign this year, the new TikTok channel will encourage new university and college students to check their meningitis vaccination status and get any jabs that they might have missed at school.

Director of Fundraising and Communications, Trevor Reid, says: “We are so excited to launch our TikTok channel, which will give us a direct link to the student population who need to know the risks of meningitis to best protect themselves as they start university this year.

“We will be bringing students real-life stories of young people who have experienced meningitis, vital information about the signs and symptoms to look out for, and what to do if they or their friends are poorly and getting worse.

“By expanding our social media presence to incorporate TikTok we will be the leading meningitis charity in the UK bringing regular, student-focused information to young people which could, quite literally, save lives.”

Investing in vital research

In addition to our existing research projects, we have made significant progress towards the development of a project to invest in scientists of the future. We are funding a four-year PhD studentship at the University of Bristol to understand how different environmental factors, such as heat and humidity, affect meningitis-causing bacteria. Researchers will use cutting edge technology to study how well the bacteria survive and adapt during transmission.

The discoveries made during the studentship will help lead scientists towards new ways to prevent meningitis in the future.

How you can get involved

You can join us in lighting the road ahead – and help us to remember those who have been impacted by meningitis - by lighting your own candle, lantern or set of fairy lights this Thursday 5 October at 8:30pm.

This World Meningitis Day, people around the world will form a virtual global chain of light to symbolise our hopes for the future and to remember anyone who has had their life changed forever because of meningitis.

It couldn’t be easier for you to get involved – you could adorn a tree in your back garden with lights, decorate paper lanterns to release, or simply light your favourite candle. We hope you’ll join us and please tag us in any of your glowing photos on Instagram @meningitis_now.