Lynette has been a volunteer Community Ambassador for us for the last four years and has worked tirelessly within the West Midlands to raise awareness and support our ongoing work.
The former Marketing and Promotions Officer at Birmingham City Council was awarded the honour for services to Adoption and Fostering, but is better known to us – and the many people we come into contact with – through her work fighting back against meningitis.
Diagnosed with meningitis
The mother of four from Birmingham became involved with us after her eight-month-old son Ato was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis in August 2000.
“Ato was left with considerable brain damage and a diagnosis of severe communication and cognitive delay, autism and epilepsy,” Lynette said.
“That fateful day was a life-changing event not only for him but for us, his parents, and for his three siblings. Since that night our lives have been completely centred around Ato and his needs.”
Ato had been showing signs of a cold and developed an excessively high temperature. He was rushed to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where, within 24 hours, he suffered the first of three respiratory arrests and was transferred to the ICU in Stoke.
Ato was in an induced coma for nearly three months, which was when he began fitting and showing signs of epilepsy. A brain scan showed severe damage to five different areas of his brain.
His sister Johari, who also supports our work alongside her mother as a Young Ambassador, added, “We are very lucky to have Ato still with us but he is completely dependent upon those around him. Since Ato’s illness, Meningitis Now has provided my family and me with a lot of much-needed support and guidance.”
Jean Lawton, our Volunteer Manager, said, “We currently have 28 Community Ambassadors who dedicate their time to supporting Meningitis Now all over the UK. They do incredible work for us and help to provide a voice in their community, which we wouldn’t be able to do without their commitment and enthusiasm."
“The Community Ambassador programme has really helped us to educate individuals, families, communities and professionals, about the devastating impact that meningitis can have, as we work towards our vision of a future where no-one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need."
“I’d like to congratulate Lynette on her well-deserved award – she really is an inspiration to others in the community.”