We held the reception update MPs on our policy priorities for the coming years and to invite them to become 'futures builders'.
Hosted by Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud, the event was attended by 30 MPs from across the political spectrum and included Heidi Alexander, the Shadow Secretary for Health, who shared her moving story of a brother who had experienced meningitis, and the Northern Ireland Minister, Ben Wallace, who is also MP for Wyre and Preston North, home to our Young Ambassador, Jacob Gray.
All of the MPs who attended, many of which were newly elected, pledged to become a 'futures builder' and help us in our bid to rid the country of this devastating disease.
In making this commitment they have agreed to help influence healthcare policy, raise awareness and support local people and their communities when dealing with the consequences of meningitis.
The 'futures builder' initiative draws together a wide range of fundraising and support activities under one umbrella programme that unites volunteers across the UK.
“We really value the support that MPs can provide the charity and welcome their commitment. MPs are uniquely placed to influence the way policy-makers and health professionals think about meningitis and we look forward to working with them as we continue the battle against this truly awful disease.”
Sue Davie, Chief Executive
What happened on the day
"Our son had viral meningitis. Had he been fighting bacterial meningitis, I know he had antibiotics and blood tests fast enough to have saved his life."
"Meningitis Now is committed to ensuring high levels of disease awareness amongst front-line health professionals to aid early diagnosis and referral. We cannot afford for there to be inconsistencies in this across the country. All healthcare professionals, like myself, must be acutely aware of meningitis as a potential diagnosis so that fast action can be taken."
"We are in danger of complacency about meningitis, and frontline medical staff cannot afford to be complacent. It is a cause for celebration that we introduced standard meningitis B and meningitis ACWY vaccines this year as routine. But this means the risk of complacency grows as patients and medics wrongly assume it is no longer something we need to worry about. This complacency can put lives at risk."
Dr Ellie Cannon
"As a family we are always aware of how lucky we are to have (my brother) Ato in our lives, but meningitis took something very precious from him and from us – we know that he probably won’t ever have his first girlfriend, his first car or a child of his own."
"Ato’s journey through development has been almost completely unpredictable, with the exception of the constant presence and support of Meningitis Now. Within weeks of Ato’s discharge they were in contact with us, offering advice, support and sympathy. The charity has been fantastic but they cannot, and shouldn’t have to, do everything."
"As a result of having meningitis, my brother has been left completely dependent on the people who surround him. One of the most difficult things for us to accept as a family has been that those people may not always be us. Whilst I am aware that Ato’s individual case falls under the umbrellas of various social and health care issues, it remains that meningitis specifically has left us, and numerous other families, in need of vital support."
"There needs to be a wider understanding of what it takes to care for someone living with the impacts of such an illness (...) Our loved ones may not still have meningitis and we are lucky that they are still with us, but that does not mean that it has left our lives for good because we make allowances for its unpredictable repercussions every day."
"In the moments when life gets most difficult (...) we need to know that there is a network of support out there for us to turn to."
"And finally, for peace of mind if for nothing else, we need to know that everything possible is being done to prevent other people and families from suffering in the same ways that we have – and possibly worse."