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James V's story

18th January 2019

James was a student at the University of Portsmouth when he fell ill. He spent ten days battling meningitis but luckily went on to make a full recovery

James V's story

Now James, who lives in Ashford in Kent, wants your help in raising money to put on a concert for Meningitis Now.

Here James tells his story – and how you can help him reach his goal.

“My name is James and I contracted MenB when I was 18 and almost died from the disease on 3 November 2003. I contracted the disease from an unknown source when I was at the University of Portsmouth.

“I started feeling unwell back on Friday 31 October when I came home for the weekend from uni. The symptoms started presenting themselves on Saturday 1 November and my condition began to worsen gradually. I was quite violently sick on the evening of the Saturday so I knew something was wrong.

“On Sunday 2 November, my health took a nosedive as the disease took hold of me. The headache was excruciatingly painful and I was lapsing in and out of consciousness. I did have a rash but it was masked by a heat rash. My parents called the doctor in the evening and he noticed that I had a dislike of bright lights so told my parents to take me to hospital.

“When we arrived at the William Harvey hospital in Ashford, I lost the feeling in my right side and couldn't undo my seatbelt. I managed to get into a wheelchair but on the way to A&E, I couldn't pick up my right foot so it was dragging on the floor.

“I was taken into a bay in A&E and the last thing I remember was breathing into a paper bag as I was panicking. I woke up in Intensive Care 3 days later on the morning of Wednesday 5 November. I don't remember anything from that Sunday to the time I woke up on the Wednesday.

“I was moved out of Intensive Care on Friday 7 November and into my own room on the Infectious Diseases Ward. I left hospital on Monday 10 November after making what the doctors said was a 'miraculous recovery' and recovered from the disease at home. The headache didn't leave my system for 6 weeks, although it wasn't nearly as strong as when I first come down with the disease. It took a month to fully recover from the disease.

“I started fundraising for Meningitis Now back in 2011 and have put on events for them ever since. I want to help Meningitis Now carry on their great work helping people and families dealing with meningitis, and also educate others about the disease and what to look out for. I'm very lucky to have survived the disease with little after-effects.