Posted by Jane Futrell on 13 December 2012
I started with the charity in June and almost immediately started planning for our day in Westminster. Meningitis Matters was launched last December and proved such a successful day we wanted to do it again.
The first thing to do was organise a sponsor as you cannot stage events in Parliament without the support of an MP. I asked Sir Tony Cunningham who supported us last year. He has personal experience of meningitis and swiftly responded “yes”.
Then we set about recruiting members to take part. Over 40 people responded to our email request and we eventually settled on 25 meetings with MPs who were available on 11 December. Thanks to our corporate sponsors Novartis Vaccines, we were also able to meet many more MPs and members of the House of Lords at a reception for around 100 people in the late afternoon.
It was an extraordinary day. I have organised a lot of events in my time, but nothing prepared me for the emotion I was going to feel hearing members share their stories. And bringing members together was an aspect I hadn’t given much thought to – yet I know it will have been a bonus of the day. New friendships were forged as members exchanged stories and helpful insights.
And the MPs have responded enthusiastically. Many signed our pledge on the day and have been uploading our press release on their websites and sharing their experience via Twitter. And we expect to see a lot more of this in coming days, alongside press coverage in their members’ local newspapers. We are also touching base with all the MPs members met last year, giving them an update and the chance to sign the pledge electronically.
I cannot say thank you enough to the families and individuals who took part in Meningitis Matters. The down-to-earth honesty of their experience of meningitis and septicaemia was inspiring and rang out across Westminster – way louder than Big Ben!Find out more about Meningitis Matters