Holly M

I have thrown myself into every event I can in order to help out

Holly McNaughton

Community ambassador

Hi, I’m Holly. I first became familiar with meningitis when my mum contracted it on 14th April 2012.

Mum had just come back from visiting friends in Germany when she started complaining about feeling ill, and within a few hours she had deteriorated hugely. She was being sick, was unable to move, couldn’t stand the light and would only speak in German. She didn’t even recognise me or my sisters. It was terrifying. We called 999 and she was rushed off to A&E.

Mum was in a coma for a week in the Intensive Care Unit of Neville Hall, and was diagnosed with having meningococcal septicaemia. She started to show signs of recovery and spent the next two weeks bouncing between there and the Cardiac Unit, as the meningitis had given her complications with her heart. When she came out of hospital, she was very weak and unable to walk, or do basic everyday things. For the next month or so, someone stayed at home with her every day. A few weeks later, when she was stronger and able to walk with the aid of a stick, we helped her to use the stairs, and gradually she regained her independence. Today she has made a full recovery!

I didn't know anything about meningitis, and it was hard to believe how ill mum had got in just a few hours. That's when I found out about Meningitis Now, whose support became everything to my family. Though what mum was going through in the hospital was horrible, I felt like no-one really understood what my sisters and I were going through at home and I really struggled. Meningitis Now has helped me understand what had happened and I couldn't have managed without them. For me, it is important to enable Meningitis Now to continue to help and support people, the way they did for me.

Since August 2013, I have thrown myself into every event I can in order to help out. I’ve been involved in collections, petitioning for the Beat It Now campaign, a race themed party for my Aunt’s 50th, the 3 Peaks Challenge, and I attended a reception in Parliament and the  “Believe and Achieve” weekend. Meningitis Now has given me so much support and so many opportunities to help raise much needed funds and awareness for such a horrible disease - I know how lucky I am to still have mum with me. I've got to know a lot of amazing people through volunteering, and it is such an honour to call myself a Community Ambassador.

  • Anne Cadden

    Anne Cadden

    Community ambassador

    In January 2001, my daughter, Helen, died from meningococcal septicaemia aged 18 while in her first year at university. A friend from Helen’s school, Richard Murphy, also died from meningitis seven weeks later at another university.

  • Lesley Leaver

    Lesley Chandler-Clare

    Community ambassador

    I lost my husband, Kevin, to meningococcal septicaemia in January 2000, just five hours after being admitted to hospital. I have been supported by Meningitis Now ever since.

  • Anne Gaston

    Anne Gaston

    Community ambassador

    My son is now 21, but when he was six months old, he was rushed to hospital with suspected meningitis. Thankfully it turned out not to be meningitis, but it made me realise how little I knew about this devastating disease

  • Bahman

    Bahman Jamalaldini

    Community ambassador

    In December 2010, I thought I was coming down with a cold. On December 21, I went to bed early and in the early hours of the morning I was vomiting, had diarrhoea, felt cold and had muscle and joint pain