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Meningitis Now Community Ambassador Margaret McClaren

Margaret McLaren

- Community Ambassadors

I have been volunteering with the charity for the past 12 years since losing my nephew to meningitis in October 2007.

Calum had been a healthy, fit and happy boy when meningitis struck and took him so quickly. He was a boy who was kind and loving. On his passing his Mum and Dad continued that by helping five others by giving them the gift of life and it is nice to think that although we have lost Calum he is still living on through the organ donation to the others.

Calum like many others was taken so quickly by this cruel disease, and I feel that It is important for me to keep raising awareness of the signs and symptoms to prevent other families suffering the loss and pain that our family has had.

Fundraising has been a big part of our lives over the last 12 years, from hill climbing, cycle rides, sponsored walks, marathon races, zip-slides and games nights to dinner/dances - so many various events that have been great fun whilst remembering our special boy. As a family we have raised over £88,000 to help Meningitis Now continue their work in areas such as research, awareness-raising and of course the invaluable support offered to the victims and families affected. Having been on the receiving end of the emotional support offered by the charity, I can honestly say that they have helped more than one family member to come to terms with Calum’s absence in our lives.

Of course, for myself it has also been about carrying on with Calum’s legacy of caring for others and sharing his story. There is nothing more powerful than a personal story. When I am out in the community talking to groups of school students or university students or standing in a shopping centre talking to individuals about Calum I am sure it has more of an impact. I hope I am doing him proud, and if I have saved one other person during my time volunteering for the charity then I will have succeeded in what I set out to achieve.

Being an Ambassador for the charity is a great honour, and to be part of an organisation that shares my values, beliefs and hopes for the future, ‘where no one loses their life to meningitis, and those who have been affected are fully supported for the rest of their lives’, is an empowering and important message to get out into the community. To add to this, I have made so many friends for life through the charity. I can definitely say that I am proud to be part of the ‘Meningitis Now family’.