Meningitis Now staff member Clara Wiggins

Student Awareness Week - highlighting the signs and symptoms of meningitis

Clara Wiggins | 28th October 2019

A moving film featuring two young men who lost their brother to meningitis has been released at the start of our Student Awareness Week to highlight the importance of learning the signs and symptoms of the disease

Student meningitis awareness week backed by family of Tim Mason

Tim Mason was only 21 when he lost his life to MenW in March 2018. His parents Fiona and Gavin, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, have already backed our campaign to raise awareness in a video earlier this summer, and are now joined by sons Nick and Alex. 

The film has been released to coincide with the start of our annual week to ensure all students and young people are up to date with their meningitis vaccinations and know all the signs and symptoms of the disease.

In the video, Tim’s brothers Nick and Alex speak poignantly about how they had grown up in a “typical home” that was “pretty much everything that you would want a home to be”.

But then they talk about how suddenly their youngest brother Tim was taken from them.

21 hours and 46 minutes

“My brother first got ill properly at midnight,” Nick says in the film. 

“He was dead at 9.46 that evening. So, 21 hours and 46 minutes is the time it took to kill him."

“He was fine one day – and then he was dead”.

Nick and Alex’s words emphasise how important it is for young people to be fully aware of how quickly meningitis can strike and how deadly it can be when it does. This is a message echoed in universities and colleges up and down the country as students settle in to the new term - for some their first time living away from home.

“As young people start university, make new friends and move into shared accommodation their risk of contracting meningitis increases,” said Meningitis Now’s Campaign Officer Helen Hillier

“Our awareness campaign aims to fight this risk through sharing information about the disease and the free MenACWY vaccine with young people and encourage them to protect themselves and be vigilant to the symptoms.”

Protect themselves

Student Meningitis Awareness Week 2019 takes place from 28 October to 1 November and is an opportunity for institutions to highlight our important messages with their students and ensure that those young people still unvaccinated protect themselves.

“Awareness stands and materials have been shared in universities across the UK from Inverness to Falmouth in recent weeks,” added Helen.

“More than 100 universities have ordered posters and symptoms cards and downloaded our awareness videos to use on campus, and some universities have taken the initiative to train staff and deliver their own awareness activity."

“As part of the campaign we are also rolling out a pilot project for the first time this year in the Liverpool and Merseyside areas to see if specific focus on one region can make a real difference."

“This project includes targeting GPs in the area and asking them to play the Mason's videos in their surgeries."

“We really hope all this work makes a real difference: meningitis is an awful, cruel disease and we are really pleased that the Mason family have agreed to help us with this important work to raise awareness about it”.

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