Michelle Bresnahan has tirelessly raised funds for research into meningitis since her son Ryan died from the disease, aged just 16, in 2010.
With her family, the Bristol-based mother set up ‘a Life for a Cure’, which works closely with us to combat the disease and its after-effects, through research, awareness and support.
Ryan would be proud
“It was always our intention when we started a Life for a Cure that some good would come out of losing Ryan,” Michelle said.
“The campaign has been a wonderfully proactive way of turning our tragedy into some sort of positive and we believe Ryan would be proud of what we’ve achieved."
“We just want to do all we can to find vaccines to wipe out the disease to stop other families from feeling the pain we feel every day after losing Ryan.”
In particular, a Life for a Cure has funded two research projects to the tune of £283,000 to look at ways to stop people carrying the bacteria which cause meningococcal disease and the impact of MenB vaccination on bacterial carriage in babies and young children.
It has also supported the preservation of research samples from the ongoing teenage carriage study to make these available for potential future research.
A Life for a Cure has also backed our annual student campaigns, providing a vast range of awareness materials for use on student campuses around the country. At the same time, Michelle has become a passionate advocate for meningitis awareness, speaking at events and with the news media.
With the support of her family and friends, Michelle has significantly raised awareness of meningitis and as a result has been shortlisted for a Pride of Britain Award, Clarins Woman of the Year and carried the Paralympic Torch for the London 2012 games.
“Ryan was an incredibly fit, funny, healthy and happy young man,” Michelle added. “Very few people are aware that young adults aged 15 to 24 are an ‘at-risk’ group for meningitis, as the main association relates to babies and toddlers."
“In addition to raising funds to find the ultimate vaccine for meningitis we also want to raise awareness and create something young and vibrant – just as Ryan was – to relate to his friends and peers.”
Our founder, Steve Dayman, said, “We’re so grateful to Michelle, and everyone who has supported her through ‘a Life for a Cure’."
“The impact she has made on fighting meningitis is immense and with her determination and dedication we’re making real inroads in the battle to beat this disease."
“Her support is particularly important because as a charity that receives no Government funding we rely entirely on the generosity, energy and initiative of our supporters to raise the vital funds we need to carry out our lifesaving and life-changing work."
A real difference
“Her dedication makes a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.”
‘A Life for a Cure’ hosts regular fundraising activities, ranging from popular and well-attended annual rugby and hockey tournaments at Ryan’s school, Clifton College, to glamorous ladies' ‘Blingo’ evenings. Michelle has also taken on challenge events, including the Three Peaks Challenge in 24 hours.
Michelle’s fundraising shows no sign of easing up and further events are planned throughout the year to move her towards the £600,000 mark.
For more on ‘a Life for a Cure’ see www.ryanbresnahan.org.