Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Jasmine braves the shave for Meningitis Now

Andy Hopkinson | 18th November 2022

The Chancellor may be introducing new austerity measures this week, but we’re hopeful of some positive fringe benefits coming our way soon

Jasmine braves the shave

For on Saturday (26 November), our supporter Jasmine Ambrose-Brown, from south London, will be braving the shave to mark 10 years since she recovered from meningococcal septicaemia and menW.

Jasmine, a 25-year-old brand and social consultant by day and an actor by night, has already smashed her original £700 target with over £1,000 raised, so 10 young meningitis survivors can get support and coaching through our Believe & Achieve programme for young people impacted by meningitis, something which resonates strongly with her. But she’s hoping for more.

Mental after-effects remained

In her story, Jasmine says: “Although I was lucky to have not been left with any physical implications, the mental after-effects remained. 

“As I contracted the illness when I was a teenager, all normal mood swings were heightened. Forgetfulness, combined with extreme emotions such as anger and anxiety, led me to sessions with a clinical psychologist which gave me strategies and coping mechanisms which I use to this day.”

Now Jasmine is hosting her event at the Friendship Adventure Brewery in Camberwell on Saturday for family and friends. It will begin with a pub quiz but the definite highlight of the evening and the grand finale will see her getting her head shaved. She’s persuaded her long-standing hairdresser Trish to (reluctantly) do the honours.

She told us: “As an actor, I can’t do anything by half! 

Hoped I was joking

“I knew I wanted to bring everyone together as a celebration of it being 10 years since I had meningitis, but shaving my head came to me a little further down the line. My family can’t believe I’m doing it, and hoped I was joking when I told them. My grandparents are still trying to convince me not to do it, but I’m far too stubborn. 

“Hiking up mountains isn’t really my thing, but I wanted to do something with a similar impact. I’ve had a really strong feeling that I had to shave my head, perhaps it’s some kind of metaphor for growth or release.”

And it’s not just us who will be benefiting from Jasmine’s event - the hair that’s being shaved off will be donated to The Little Princess Trust.

It won’t be Jasmine’s first foray into fundraising - earlier this year she set up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook, which raised raised £265 – but she’s never attempted anything on this scale before.

She added: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to Neil at the Friendship Adventure Brewery for letting me host at their venue, and of course Trish.

Heroes in my eyes

“To all the doctors and nurses at Birmingham Children's Hospital, UHCW and Warwick Hospital, you are all heroes in my eyes. I’d like to say an extra special thank you to a doctor called Brian who was on call in the A&E department at Warwick Hospital who apparently had a Scottish accent and whose quick thinking subsequently saved my life.

“However, the biggest thanks must go to my parents. The past 10 years have been a rocky ride, and I’m baffled how you coped with me after this and becoming a teenager! You’re both my rock and I love you very much.”

Good luck with braving the shave Jasmine and we look forward to seeing the after photos. If anyone would like to support her efforts there’s a GoFundMe page for people who can’t make it on the day here