Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Meningitis Now's BBC Lifeline Appeal

Andy Hopkinson | 20th April 2021

We are very excited to have been granted a TV charity appeal on Lifeline, the BBC’s monthly charity appeal programme

Meningitis Now BBC Lifeline Appeal

Look out for the programme on BBC2 at 1.50pm on Sunday 25 April and please watch it if you can. But don’t worry if you’re busy that day – it will be repeated at a time and date to be finalised (we’ll let you know when we know) and also be available on BBC iPlayer until Sunday 16 May.

The programme will be presented by our wonderful Celebrity Ambassador, Lisa Snowdon, whose passion for our work started after she contracted viral meningitis a few years back, which left her fighting to recover for three months. Read Lisa’s story here.

The 10-minute broadcast will focus on our impact on fighting meningitis and highlight the vital support we provide. Lisa will introduce our Executive Founder Steve Dayman, and also moving and heartfelt stories from supporters, including Harmonie-Rose, Joanna and Sophia Sloan and Julia Styles.

Meningitis Now BBC Lifeline Appeal

Junior Ambassador

Harmonie-Rose’s story is well known to supporters, who will have followed it on our website and social media as she has blossomed into an energetic and lively 7-year-old since losing her arms and legs to meningitis at 10 months old. Our founder Steve rushed to visit Harmonie in hospital, offering help and support to the family, especially mum Freya and dad Ross, as they dealt with every parent’s worst nightmare. In recognition of Harmonie-Rose and her family’s ongoing support we made the Bath youngster our first Junior Ambassador last Autumn.

Developmental delays

Sophia was just a baby when she fell ill with meningitis and was admitted to hospital. Mum Joanna, from Belfast, told us: “My mind went from planning her funeral to ordering presents for her first Christmas.” 

Thankfully Sophia survived, but the disease left the now 6-and-a-half year-old with global developmental delays, severe learning disability and severe speech delay. We have supported the family through helping them arrange fundraisers, providing counselling, through our popular Family Days and, most recently, through funding a ‘Talker’ for Sophia through our Rebuilding Futures Fund. Read Sophia's story here.

Immeasurable loss

Nineteen-year-old Teaching Assistant Emily was struck down with meningococcal meningitis on New Year’s Eve 2013. Mum Julia said: “We have so many wonderful happy memories from the moment Emily came into the world, but she had so much more to give and our immeasurable loss is for all that was yet to come. She would have been a brilliant teacher, wife and mummy, but sadly was denied these chances to shine.”

Julia, from Malmesbury in Wiltshire, speaks movingly on the Lifeline Appeal about how we provided support like "arms wrapped around her" and of the importance of our reaching out after she lost Emily. In particular, she has positive things to say about our Forever Weekend.

New strategy

The broadcast takes place as we’re about to launch our new five-year strategy aiming to defeat meningitis in the UK within a generation.

Our Fundraising Manager Megan Thompson said: “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to reach a new audience on mainstream television and achieve such valuable exposure for our cause.

“We are incredibly grateful to our supporters who have taken the time to get involved in this programme and spoken so movingly and bravely about the impact meningitis has had on their lives and their involvement with our charity.  

“Please watch the broadcast if you can and encourage your family and friends to do so too.”

Further information about the BBC Lifeline Appeal is available here.