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Lisa's story

11th November 2014

Lisa Snowdon became a Celebrity Ambassador for Meningitis Now after experiencing the terror of meningitis herself, when she was struck down with viral meningitis in December 2010. The DJ and model had battled against her symptoms to continue with work commitments, but was eventually rushed to hospital

Lisa's story

Lisa is a keen Twitter user and has helped us reach thousands through this social media channel.

Lisa says “I am fortunate enough to know about the fantastic work Meningitis Now does, but lots of other people don’t. I want to help the charity spread awareness to make sure that anyone affected knows where to turn to, to get the support they need."

Here are some extracts from an interview Lisa did with The Daily Mirror:

“Suffering from viral meningitis is like having the worst headache in the world. In October 2010, I woke up one morning and had the most excruciating head pain I’ve ever had. I’d planned to go to Hertfordshire to visit my family so I took some headache tablets. But I continued to feel so lousy that I cancelled plans to go to a Halloween party that night.

This carried on for the next three weeks before I saw a doctor. It sounds crazy now but it didn’t occur to me to go earlier as I was just trying to cope with the pain. When I was doing my breakfast show, I’d get exhausted and suffer aches, pains and headaches. I was also losing my appetite. I kept asking them to turn the lights down in the studio as it was making my eyes hurt. Light sensitivity is a symptom of viral meningitis but I didn’t realise it at the time."

Hospital bound

“When I finally went to my doctor, my blood and urine tests were inconclusive. I didn’t think it was serious enough to go to hospital. I hosted an award ceremony in mid-November and remember being barely able to stand. I had started to lose weight because the terrible pain left me with no appetite.

The following evening, I was switching on some Christmas lights at a hospital in London. I felt so unwell I almost didn’t know what was going on. My eyes were puffy and I was sweating a lot. Yet afterwards, I still rode as a passenger on a motorbike to host another award ceremony clinging on to the rider.

When I got home, I was howling with pain, I couldn’t sleep, my bed sheets were soaked and I could barely open my eyes. Feeling frightened, the next day I went to a hospital where I had MRI and CT scans. The scans revealed that there was swelling around my brain and spinal cord and I was diagnosed with viral meningitis. The doctor couldn’t believe I had kept going for so long."

Road to recovery

“They put me on antibiotics in case I had bacterial meningitis and then gave me an IV drip and painkillers. They kept me in for a week to monitor me.

The specialists don’t really know why I got it but I was foolish and should have sought help sooner. Viral meningitis can be dangerous if it’s not treated and I could have died. My liver was on its last legs and I had some jaundice too. When I left hospital, I went to stay with my dad where he nursed me back to health. I was off work for almost two months.

I’m now an ambassador for Meningitis Now and I abseiled down St Guy’s hospital in London to raise money. I’m so scared of heights but I did it – and managed to collect £13,000.

Luckily, I’ve made a full recovery. Maybe the reason why I was able to bounce back so quickly was because I was so healthy before."