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Keira W's Story

29th April 2024

Keira became ill with meningococcal meningitis shortly after her first birthday in 2007, with a stiff neck, vomiting and a rash. Although she recovered well physically she still struggles mentally and academically with the after-effects of her illness some 17 years later. Teenager Keira, from Bures in Suffolk, shares her story here.

Keira W's story

“I just really struggle with learning – it’s very draining and I often worry about my future and how much it could affect it.”

"About 21 days after my first birthday I contracted a stomach bug, which then developed into meningitis.

“At first my mum thought it was just a general illness that was going round the nursery, but she soon realised something wasn't right. That night she decided that I needed to go to hospital, so she took me. A doctor took one look at me and said something wasn't right, so I was quickly rushed into a bed and examined.

“They realised I needed to go to a hospital with better resources, so I was then airlifted to Addenbrookes Hospital for further treatment, where I had to have a lumbar puncture and bloods taken from various parts of my body to confirm what the problem could be.

Rushed into surgery

“Once they figured out what it was I was rushed into surgery and I now have a scar on the right side of my head (which I get to talk about at the hairdressers). After my surgery I wasn't checked on properly, so my head started swelling and I had a high temperature, causing the nurses to have to quickly remove the bandage from my head.

Meningitis hasn't affected me physically, but academically and mentally it’s been quite tough. I tend to struggle to process things like other people do and it’s really taken a toll on things like my grades. I often get mistaken for just being stupid when I'm not – I just really struggle with learning unless I'm taught it physically. It’s very draining and I often worry about my future and how much it could affect it.

People not aware of after-effects

“It's also concerning that not many people are aware of this after-effect from the illness – they just assume any after-effect from meningitis is physical. But it’s not, which makes it difficult to get the right support.

“I genuinely believe that if I hadn’t been taken into hospital that night I would not be here today.

“Through its website and social media Meningitis Now has helped me understand the various effects the illness can have on others and the different outcomes.

“Meningitis still impacts me a lot with my learning and makes simple things difficult, especially when it’s quite difficult to get the right support.

“But it also affects my mum, because whenever I’m ill, even if it’s just a simple cold, it worries her. I always have to tell her when I get migraines, just in case I’ve contracted the illness again.”