Say hello to our new lifesaving Young Ambassadors

29th October 2015

Dedicated supporters Summer Whittaker and Jemma Pressman have taken on the lifesaving volunteering role after witnessing first-hand the devastating effects meningitis can have

Summer Jemma
We currently have 37 young ambassadors across the UK, acting as community mouthpieces, aiding our cause. As Young Ambassadors they will fundraise, campaign, raise awareness and provide support to people in their community.

Meet Summer 

Summer Whittaker, 22, has become a Young Ambassador after her fiancé, Jacob Gray, contracted meningococcal septicaemia in 2013 and was given just a 10% chance of survival. She has become a passionate supporter for the charity, utilising her skills and experience to help us develop our Student Awareness Campaign.

“Jacob and I had been together one year before he contracted meningitis. As soon as I met him I knew he was something special.”

“I felt my heart break when Jacob told me to leave him and live my life but I couldn’t see my future without him. I knew it would be a difficult journey, but meningitis gave us a strength that made our relationship, and us, indestructible.”

“Jacob spent 699 days in hospital, becoming a double amputee. We both went through some of our darkest times but the support from Meningitis Now pulled us through.”

“Almost three years after meningitis, the opportunities Jacob and I have had from this experience is something we will never take for granted. I wish that this didn’t happen, but then it would have happened to somebody else.”

“This whole journey has been the most difficult chapter of my life and I can never repay Meningitis Now for being there for Jacob when I felt so weak, but I will do all I can to support their future and support anyone in need."

Summer Whittaker, Young Ambassador

Read more about Summer here

Meet Jemma

Jemma Pressman, 21, contracted meningitis group Y and encephalitis during her second year at university. After spending nearly a year in hospital, Jemma’s condition has improved significantly with physiotherapy and regular counselling; however the left side of her body is significantly weaker leaving Jemma wheelchair dependent. 

We funded counselling and horse riding lessons for Jemma to help improve her confidence and strength and with her increased confidence and understanding of the disease, Jemma has become a Young Ambassador. 

“I don’t remember much of the early days after contracting the disease – I was confused and didn’t understand what had happened. I couldn’t move or breathe without assistance and had to relearn the most basic of things, like breathing, swallowing and moving my arms and legs.” 

“The horse riding lessons have been amazing. They allow me to go to a different environment every week, spending time with different people. Physically the lessons test all my muscles, especially my core, back and thighs. I feel like I fit in again so physically and emotionally it has been very beneficial."

“I know first-hand how devastating this disease can be so I’m honoured to join the Young Ambassador team, fundraising, raising awareness and providing support to people in my community.”

“It’s vital that people are aware of symptoms so they can act fast and save lives.”

“I want to ensure that no one in my community goes through meningitis alone.”

Jemma Pressman, Young Ambassador

Read more about Jemma here