What is Spencer's Legacy?

In November 1982 - 40 years ago - Meningitis Now's founder Steve Dayman and his wife Gloria lost their baby boy Spencer to meningococcal meningitis

Meningitis Now appeal - Spencer's Legacy - What letterbox

At the time, there was very little awareness of the disease, no information, no vaccines. Steve and Gloria were told he would never see a meningitis vaccine in his lifetime. 

Since then, Steve has fought tirelessly to change this. And the work inspired by Spencer has led to five meningitis vaccines that are available on the NHS, and thousands of lives saved. 

But we are not there yet. There is still no effective vaccine for all types of meningitis. And lives continue to be lost. Families, like Steve’s, who will never see their child grow up. Heartache which could have been spared by a simple vaccine. 

Medical research is the key to changing this. In memory of Spencer and thousands of other children like him, we are stepping up our drive to invest in lifesaving scientific research. 

Our goal to defeat meningitis is an ambitious one. But research offers hope in the fight against the disease. Your support of this research will bring us closer to defeating meningitis.

Watch the Spencer's Legacy story

What are we funding?

Pneumococcal meningitis continues to be a major cause of death and disability, both in the UK and the rest of the world. Even with prompt antibiotic treatment, the outcome is often poor – with approximately 10-15% of cases resulting in death. Around 25% of those who survive are left with severe and life-changing after-effects, such as hearing loss, acquired brain injury, loss of vision and epilepsy. And while there are pneumococcal vaccines currently available, they do not protect against all strains of the disease; in fact there are around 300 cases of pneumococcal meningitis in the UK every year.

Spencer’s Legacy: Nobody Left Behind aims to raise over £320,000 to fund research into a new and improved pneumococcal vaccine, and also to invest in developing future scientists by funding a 4-year PhD studentship at the Spencer Dayman Research Laboratories at the University of Bristol.

Funds raised in excess of our target will be used more broadly in our fight against meningitis and its impact, as well as other relevant research projects.

By donating, you will help to bring us closer to our goal of defeating meningitis within a generation.

How you can help

Please donate what you can and help us to make sure that nobody is left behind in the fight against meningitis.

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Get in touch

If you would like to contact us about Spencer’s Legacy, please:

If you have any questions about meningitis, or have been affected by the disease in any way, please contact our Helpline team on 0808 80 10 388 or email helpline@meningitisnow.org.