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Meningitis Now Community Ambassador volunteer Angela Cloke

Angela Cloke

- Community Ambassadors

My meningitis journey began when our youngest son, Sam, aged just 18 months became very poorly.

Following an initial misdiagnosis of flu and eczema, my instinct was to seek a second opinion. The second doctor immediately suspected meningitis and septicaemia.

Tests later confirmed meningococcal septicaemia type B. To this doctor we owe our child’s life. Sam was in hospital for 10 days and took nine months to recover. During Sam’s long and often painful recovery, Meningitis Now were a huge support to us as a family. Sam suffered daily pain in his joints, especially his knee and ankle joints. Other side effects included mood swings and aggression, which were often difficult to deal with. Sam has now made a full recovery and we never lose sight of how lucky we are.

Following our experience, I wanted to do something to prevent others from going through the same experience as us. Raising awareness of symptoms in my local community has become a very important part of my voluntary work. I regularly speak to post natal groups as well as other community groups such as WI, U3A, Lions and Soroptimists and local schools/universities. I also worked as the patient/carer representative on the NICE Guideline for the Management of bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia in children and young people younger than 16 years in primary and secondary care.

With the support of family and friends, I also organise a number of fundraising events each year. Events range from coffee mornings, quiz nights, fashion evenings, Christmas shopping evenings, to sponsored events such as walking on hot coals and broken glass, skydiving from 13,000ft and abseiling down the Avon Gorge. When facing these challenges I remind myself that courage is not the absence of fear, but the realisation that something else is more important.