He overcame meningitis, but as few know this is not always the end. The effects can last a lifetime.
These events have been really special because they indicate the broad amount of work which Meningitis Now does, most of which I was oblivious to before being appointed.
The political side, getting the NHS and the Government on our side to push the Meningitis B vaccine into the ‘Baby Vaccination Programme’, which has been a tiresome journey; yet a powerful one. The charity has really shown its true strength and vast support system in doing this.
The other side of the charity, which so many people have dedicated their time and money to is one very close to my heart. Family and activity days allow families and sufferers of meningitis not to feel alone. I have been on both sides of on one of these days, as when my brother, Hamish was younger we used to attend as a whole family. I now have the privilege of helping out myself.
These days allow adults and children to relax and have fun, and bond with other people who have gone through similar experiences. As I am sure, many people reading this will understand, your family and friends can be incredibly supportive, but there is nothing quite the same as talking to someone who has experienced the same as you, good or bad.
Since being at Bristol University, the Meningitis B vaccine has been given to 62% of 1st year students. Living in such close quarters, this is going to make a miraculous difference. I am so proud to be at the first University who has really got on-board with this movement, and fingers crossed many more will lead by example in the near future.
Additionally, since being at University, it has been amazing to see the breadth of knowledge of the disease that has been embedded into University culture. As last year in contrast, it was really just a label. I walk around campus and flashes of orange, from posters to symptoms cards pop up everywhere.
I have so enjoyed being part of the charity and I really feel in an almost selfish way that it has allowed me a sense of purpose and increased drive in day to day life. The charity, led by CEO Sue Davie, has really gone above and beyond in the last few years in particular.
I am going to be running the London Marathon in April, a very exciting prospect and I will be hoping to raise as much money as possible. After this, I am hoping to organise a fundraiser in the Summer. I have my own blog, which is concerned with my passions and fun things to scroll through whilst having a cup of tea. Meningitis Now plays a large part in this as I update it with any news. I have now talked far too much about myself, so I will leave you with the most important part... Hamish’s story.
My brother Hamish contracted meningitis at just nine months old. He overcame meningitis, but as few know this is not always the end. The effects can last a lifetime.
Hamish is profoundly deaf, and at just 18 months old had a cochlear implant fitted; enabling him to hear - at the time he was the youngest in Europe to have the operation. He suffers from a severe language disorder and epilepsy, but worst of all has the attitude of a teenage boy.
Hamish has been lucky enough to attend a specialist school, Moor House School, and now Moor House College where he has had excellent care from tremendous staff in order to help him develop in all areas of school life, his favourites being Football and Art.
Hamish has an infectious personality, to which he will never ask just one question, and would never give a short answer to one of your own. Being just two years Hamish’s senior, we are very close and I have seen him grow into the amazing charismatic young man he is today and I would not change him for the world.
Hamish is a true example of the light at the end of what may seem like a very long and dark tunnel for some families. Meningitis Now is a charity that helps individuals from the start to the very end, until this light can be found. For this reason I am proud to be part of this fantastic charity.