Ten-year-old Ben suffers from ADHD and anxiety, and has turned to drumming lessons to help manage his condition, which developed after he contracted pneumococcal meningitis at just five months old.
Meningitis Now funded drumming lessons for Ben to help improve his confidence and control his emotions. Since starting the drums, he has become more calm, motivated and focussed.
"Ironically, Ben contracted meningitis on the same day as Children in Need. He had been ill for a couple of weeks and steadily got worse. I took him to A&E three times, refusing to leave until we had a diagnosis."
“Ben was touch-and-go for about 48 hours and we were told to prepare for the worst, but eventually he started to respond and, after two weeks, we could take him home."
“It took Ben about three months to recover from the physical effects of meningitis, but emotionally he still suffers. He has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and ADHD. Not only that, Ben has confidence issues, noise sensitivity, a short temper and some behavioural issues."
“Despite this, he gets on well at school and has friends who understand him, although he often says he is rubbish at things and will only attempt something once, if at all. This can be somewhat tiring to the whole family at times.”
“Music is a big part of Ben’s life. He really enjoys playing the drums and recognises he is really good at something. The lessons give him an aim; something to practise and improve. He gets great guidance from his tutor, Mark Warburton, and has joined a junior brass band. He feels proud to be part of something that, in his words, is ‘normal and accepted’ and it helps him socialise. "
“The lessons have also improved his general home life and school work. Often it’s very difficult to get Ben to achieve anything and his mood swings can last days at a time, but when his confidence is high, particularly after his drum lessons, he goes on to read well and willingly do homework because he feels like he can achieve things.”
Catherine Halliday, Ben's mum
Meningitis Now awards more than £250,000 every year to those affected by meningitis. Grants help to reduce the financial pressures faced following the disease. Funding helps families with a variety of needs, such as specialist equipment, therapy, travel and accommodation for hospital visits, training, funeral and headstone expenses, and rehabilitation.