Meningitis and septicaemia can kill in hours. People who recover may be left with permanent disabilities or a range of after-effects that dramatically alter their lives. Disabilities include brain damage, sensory disabilities, amputations and a range of non-specific after-effects, permanent and temporary.
Meningitis and septicaemia can, however, often be successfully treated if identified in time.
There are currently 17 research projects in the Foundation's research programme. Since it was founded in 1989, the charity has awarded 137 research grants, leading to many advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia. The total value of the Foundation's investment in vital scientific research is over £16.5/€19.5 million.
The Foundation runs dynamic and effective awareness programmes for both the general public and health professionals, reflecting the best current understanding of meningitis and septicaemia. The charity has distributed millions of life-saving symptoms cards, leaflets, and posters to the general public and health professionals free of charge.
Our Freefone helpline, run by trained helpline staff and nurses - widely quoted by the media in articles about meningitis and recommended by public health doctors - gives concerned members of the public access to information and support whatever the time of the day or night. The helpline takes thousands of calls each year from the public and health and education professionals dealing with the diseases.
The charity has a membership base of over 15,000 active individual members and supporters.
Members' personal experience of these diseases informs all aspects of Meningitis Research Foundation's work.
MRF offers telephone befriending to its members. We believe that one of the best ways for those affected by meningitis and septicaemia is to talk through their experiences with someone who has been affected in a similar way. We put these members in touch with each other to discuss their experience, supported by the charity's befriender training programme.
Members contribute to research projects directly, such as the Genetic Susceptibility Study, and a project on the physical, educational and social outcomes of pneumococcal meningitis, providing researchers with direct access to a valuable database.
Members also work with the charity on awareness and fundraising work.
The ethical policy of the board relating to investments and the acceptance of donations is that Meningitis Research Foundation will comply with all current UK and Ireland legislation both in letter and in spirit and will conform to the current Charity Commission guidance, the Institute of Fundraising code of conduct and the Donors' Rights Charter.
The charity is entirely independent and asserts the right to hold its own views, even though such views may conflict with the views of a donor. The Foundation reserves the right to criticise the actions of a corporate donor and/or business partner, if the charity believes the company is not acting in the best interests of those sections of the public that the charity serves.
The Charity will not consider a joint venture or commercial relationship with any organisation or company whose core business is deemed to be in conflict with our own.
In addition, the Foundation will make every effort not to knowingly solicit or accept donations from, or enter into investments with companies, organisations, or individuals acting on their behalf, who are:
- Primary and/or secondary producers, and/or solely distributors and/or solely retailers of tobacco;
- Wholly and exclusively engaged in the trading of arms;
- Engaged in testing on animals where there is no medical or health care priority;
- In direct contradiction of the Foundation's equal opportunities policy.