Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Meningitis survivor Lauren Booth cycling towards victory

Andy Hopkinson | 2nd August 2019

A young woman who fought back from meningitis as a baby will see her dream come true when she makes her international cycling debut for Great Britain this autumn

Lauren cycling for Great Britain after meningitis

Lauren Booth, 18, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, whose love of cycling was fostered by us when we funded a special trike for her as a 4-year-old, will take part in the Inas Global Games in Brisbane between 11 and 20 October. The games are the world’s biggest elite sports event for athletes with intellectual impairments, held every four years.

Lauren will represent Team GB in the Time Trial, Team Time Trial, Road Race and Track Events in the velodrome during the competition.

She said, “I’m really pleased and proud to have the chance to race in a GB kit. I’d love to win a medal. Being part of the team will be fun."

“It’s really important that cyclists with a learning disability are given the chance to race for GB and show that we can be included in events like the Global Games.”

Cycling with Sir Chris

Lauren, who has been voted Britain’s biggest cycling fan and shared the track at the Manchester Velodrome with her hero Sir Chris Hoy, contracted meningitis when she was just six weeks old. It left her with an acquired brain injury, hearing loss in one ear and cerebral palsy, affecting her left arm and leg and creating balance difficulties. Doctors worried about the quality of life she would have.

Her passion for cycling was fuelled by the gift of her special trike. To celebrate her 10th anniversary of surviving meningitis Lauren cycled the 25 miles from her home in Wiltshire to our head office in Stroud, Gloucestershire, raising over £4,000 to help others fighting back from the disease – a feat that earned her a gold Blue Peter badge, presented by then Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street.

She has since gone on to become one of the country’s top cyclists in her class, holding several national records.

So proud

Her mum, LisaJayne, said: “We’re all so proud of Lauren. She’s come such a long way since she was given her trike by Meningitis Now, which gave her the independence she craved."

“Little did we know this trike would kick start a passion for cycling and help make her the competitive cyclist she is today. It’s wonderful to see Lauren’s dream of representing Great Britain come true and all her hard work pay off."

“I am so grateful to Meningitis Now for the help and support we receive.”

Lauren’s selection is particularly pleasing as it comes shortly after she was dropped from the British Paralympic Cycling team because her disability wasn’t considered sufficiently extreme.

But following stringent assessment by the UK Sports Association on both her intellectual impairmant and sporting prowess she has been given the go-ahead to take to the road and track at the Global Games in what will be a dynamic and challenging cycling competition.

Need to raise the funds

Now the family is looking to raise the funds Lauren will need to take part in the event, which is not centrally funded. To cover her equipment, kit and living expenses she’s looking for £4,000 and a fundraising page has been set up at

“The Global Games is a world-class event and it’s a real achievement for Lauren to be selected,” LisaJayne added. “Please support our efforts if you can to give her the best chance to achieve her ambition and come back with a medal.”

Dr Tom Nutt, our chief executive, said, “What a wonderful achievement by Lauren and we wish her well, both with her fundraising and at the games in October."

“Her success in being chosen demonstrates how much can be achieved by those who have had meningitis with the right support. We’re delighted for her and to be a part of her success story.”

Lauren’s trike was funded under our Financial Support Grant scheme, which has now been superseded by our recently introduced Rebuilding Futures Fund. This offers financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis. 

Find out more about the Rebuilding Futures Fund.

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