Meningitis Now Young Ambassador Charlotte Hannibal

I want to ensure that no-one in my community goes through meningitis alone

Charlotte H

Young Ambassador

Charlotte was a student when she had both legs amputated below the knee, along with all the fingers from her left hand, after contracting meningococcal group W (MenW) and septicaemia.

She thought she had the flu when she began to experience a variety of symptoms, including feeling cold, shivering, a sore throat and a bloating feeling in her stomach.

After just two days of flu-like symptoms, Charlotte then spent 17 days in an induced coma and awoke unable to remember what had happened to her. Although Charlotte has now recovered from meningitis, she has been left with a number of after-effects, which have changed her life dramatically.

“I had a period of something called dissociative amnesia in the beginning – due to how traumatic my diagnosis was I can’t remember being ill at all. My hearing was also damaged. I had both legs amputated below the knee and lost all my fingers on my left hand,” she said.

“Due to severe scarring, my kidneys no longer worked at the necessary rate. In 2016 my mum gave me the most incredible gift of donating one of her kidneys so that I could have a transplant. I’m unimaginably grateful for this and it has completely changed my life.” 

Ever since the start of her recovery Charlotte has helped organise events, including a music evening to raise funds and disease awareness, as well as towards her own prosthetic needs in the future. As a Young Ambassador, Charlotte will fundraise, raise awareness and provide support to people in her community, alongside Meningitis Now regional staff. She particularly enjoys public speaking at events that give her the opportunity to share the charity’s messages on meningitis awareness.

Most recently Charlotte has become involved with our Believe & Achieve team, who support 14 to 25-year-olds who have been impacted by meningitis, directly or indirectly.

“Attending some of the Believe & Achieve workshops and residential trips has allowed me to connect with other individuals my age who have an experience of meningitis. This means we are able to try new things and push ourselves to achieve goals without the fear of failure, because we know we are surrounded by an understanding crowd. I’ve got to know more about myself and what I’m truly capable of with this incredible group.”

She added, “I know first-hand how devastating this disease can be so I’m honoured to be a part of the Young Ambassador team. It’s vital that people are aware of the disease symptoms so they can act fast and save lives. I want to ensure that no-one in my community goes through meningitis alone.”

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