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Anne Cadden

- Community Ambassadors

Our daughter Helen died in January 2001, aged 18, from meningococcal septicaemia while in her first year at university.

She had been ill for less than 15 hours and we only knew what happened when the police came to our house to inform us of her death.

Then, seven weeks later, her schoolfriend Richard Murphy also died from meningitis at a different university.

Both their deaths had an enormous impact on our family and their friends. Meningitis Now were there for us when we needed support, which is why we volunteered, over the years, raising awareness of the signs and symptoms and campaigning for vaccines for this dreadful disease so lives can be saved.

Following our experience, when the Community Ambassador scheme was launched I was more than willing to take on the role and to help in any way with eradicating this terrible disease, which can strike anyone at any age.

As an Ambassador, I am particularly involved in providing information to and attending awareness events at our local university, GP surgeries and pharmacies. I also attend and give talks at local events where Meningitis Now require a representative. Hopefully, sharing our story with them helps to ensure that no-one else has to go through what happened to Helen, Richard and us.

I feel this is an excellent way to promote the work of Meningitis Now in funding research to find new vaccines and in supporting individuals and families who have been affected by meningitis to rebuild their lives and to engage with local organisations until a vaccine is found for all strains of meningitis.