Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Meningitis survivor Lauren is Team GB's golden girl

Andy Hopkinson | 24th October 2019

Huge congratulations to teenage cycling sensation Lauren Booth, who has been to the Inas Global Games in Brisbane, Australia and is coming home with six gold medals, having left all the competition trailing in her wake

Meningitis survivor Lauren Booth wins six gold medals

Lauren, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, picked up the top podium places in the Women’s Time Trial, Women’s Sprint and Women’s Pursuit from the track events, as well as the Individual Time Trial, Women’s Team Time Trial and Road Race in the road events – a clean sweep.

And the icing on the cake – as each event was also for the World Champion title, Lauren is now six times INAS world champion!

Mum Lisajayne Booth said, “We’re all so proud of Lauren, she’s come such a long way."

“It’s wonderful to see her dream of representing Great Britain come true and all her hard work pay off in such a successful way.”

International debut

Lauren, 18, who fought back from meningitis as a baby, was making her international cycling debut for Great Britain at the games.

She became ill when she was just six weeks old. Meningitis left her with an acquired brain injury, hearing loss and cerebral palsy, affecting her left arm and leg and creating balance difficulties. Doctors worried about the quality of life she would have.

Her love of cycling was initially fostered by us when we funded a special trike for her as a 4-year-old. 

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 the then Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street.

One of the country’s top cyclists

She has since gone on to become one of the country’s top cyclists in her class, as her results in Australia clearly demonstrate.

And we were delighted to be a small part of that success through contributing towards Lauren’s costs of attending the games through our Rebuilding Futures Fund.  

An application for funding towards two bike cases was successful, meaning Lauren was able to compete on her familiar bikes.

Lisajayne told us, “Lauren needed to take two bikes with gear adaptions to ride – her cerebral palsy causes her problems changing gear during a race. She needed two specific bike cases to transport her bikes safely."

“Having her bikes with her allowed her to race on her familiar bikes and therefore be more at ease.”

She added, “It’s a great honour to be selected for the games but unfortunately there is no funding from any sporting body, so we had to fund the £4,500 costs ourselves."

Support from Meningitis Now

“The support from Meningitis Now has helped Lauren achieve her dream.”

Our chief executive Tom Nutt commented, “What brilliant news and well done Lauren."

“I’m really pleased that through our Rebuilding Futures Fund we were able to support Lauren and her family and help her achieve such great things in Australia – it’s the perfect example of how the fund can help to transform the lives of those who have been impacted by meningitis."

“And how lovely that it continues the story of Lauren’s cycling started all those years ago with the gift of a tricycle."

“Who would have guessed back then that this trike would kick start a love of cycling and make her the competitive cyclist she is today."

Demonstrates how much can be achieved

“Her success demonstrates how much can be achieved by those who have had meningitis with the right support.”

Lauren’s first gold came with team mate Kiera Byland in the 11km Time Trial.

“It’s my first Global Games”, Lauren said. “I didn’t expect to win. Half way through I was tired, but I was thinking about the finish line.”

Over 1,000 elite athletes were in Brisbane representing 47 countries worldwide. Happening every four years in the year ahead of the Paralympic Games, the Inas Global Games comprise nine sports alongside cycling and are the world’s biggest elite sports event for athletes with intellectual impairments.

Our Rebuilding Futures Fund offers financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis. Could it support you? Find out more about financial support here.

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