Donate online today. £250 funds the helpline for half a day

meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

People who are faced with meningitis and septicaemia have to act fast to help save a life.

Hannah Shelton

Meningococcal disease at 20

Meningococcal disease

Last summer, after celebrating my 19th birthday on the Saturday night, I woke the next morning feeling generally ill and a little hung over. It was a beautiful, hot and sunny day yet I became increasingly colder and shivery. Thinking I just had a bit of sun stroke and too much to drink the night before, I went home to bed to try and sleep it off.

I woke in the early hours of Monday morning vomiting, sweating, being sensitive to the light, having a stiff neck and last of all, the rash appeared over my body. Luckily my mother is a nurse and recognised the symptoms of meningitis. She carried out the glass test to find the rash wasn’t blanching.

I was rushed to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital with suspected meningitis, where I stayed in isolation for ten days. I had IV antibiotics, scans, blood tests and a lumbar puncture to diagnose the disease. I had contracted meningococcal septicaemia.

During my time in hospital, I thought myself extremely lucky to be alive. I was totally unaware of meningitis, what it was and how it spreads so quickly. As were my friends who also thought it may have just been flu or a hangover. The first few days were such a blur and I was in bed for days, as well as losing weight due to not eating.

Luckily, the only after effects I had were, at the time, severe headaches for around a week after having a lumbar puncture. Continuing problems now are memory loss, forgetfulness and generally being a bit dopier. I feel so fortunate not to have had any amputations, brain damage or any type of disability due to the disease which causes life changing effects.

I have joined as a Meningitis Research Foundation member as I am much more aware of signs and symptoms of meningitis. I want to help back campaigns, petitions and undertake volunteering at events wherever and whenever possible as MRF is close to my heart now. They were so helpful when I was recovering at home, sending useful information and giving advice to myself and my family. Now I’d like to give something back.

Need Support? Find out more about our helpline services

Tell your story

Help raise awareness, share your story in the Book of Experience

Meet us on Facebook Meet us on Facebook