George L's story

23rd February 2015

George Lane from Huddersfield is determined he won't live in fear of the potentially deadly brain bug meningitis which has attacked his body four times

George-L

At 18, the bright student has the world at his feet. This year, he is head boy at Shelley College and has vowed to use his position to educate people about the disease which nearly killed him. When he was six, he was rushed to hospital twice with meningococcal meningitis and once with the more aggressive pneumococcal bug.

After 11 years, George thought meningitis belonged firmly in his past. But this autumn (2011), his immune system came under attack again by pneumococcal meningitis.

"I developed a really bad headache and hoped it would go away. When I was younger I began to recognise what a meningitis headache felt like, but as so much time had lapsed, alarm bells weren't ringing.

"I went to bed with a bad headache and then started being sick every half hour. I had a temperature but luckily my mum kept checking on me and when I then became delirious she called my dad into my room.

"The ambulance arrived and because of my history I was given antibiotics before we left the house. I think that is the reason I am still here now. The earlier you treat it, the more likely you are to be okay."

I thought I had closure

The promising history and politics student has been put in touch with one of the world's leading experts in infectious diseases, Professor Robert Read from the University of Sheffield. George added: "I thought I had closure on this. But on a positive note, having meningitis again at this age has made me aware of spotting the signs.

"Speaking to Professor Read was such a great help and he has given me the best explanation yet of the possible reasons why I have had meningitis so many times.

"Looking back, I would not have done anything differently and I am going to live my life as normal. Professor Read is going to try to help me to get as protected as possible against meningitis."

George and his family are backing Meningitis Now’s research to develop preventative vaccinations to protect against all forms of meningitis and associated diseases. He said: "I believe that the best way to stamp out the disease is through vaccination so that people don't have to go through what I have been through.

"I am also urging people to be aware of the signs of classic meningitis – headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright light."

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