Meningitis Matters

Our members take the meningitis message to parliament

Great news - 40 MPs met 32 of our members at Meningitis Matters on Tuesday 11 December – making it our most successful ever event in Westminster.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP, the former Secretary of State for Health and Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley MP and the Government’s Chief Whip Sir George Young MP were among those meeting our members and hearing firsthand about meningitis and its impact on the lives of those affected.

Our sponsor for the day was Sir Tony Cunningham, who has personal experience of meningitis and he made sure all our members had a tour of Westminster as part of their day – some even sitting in the public gallery listening to debates about the economy and Northern Ireland.

The MPs were each given a copy of the Meningitis Matters briefing leaflet and updated on our Counting the Cost campaign. They were also encouraged to sign up to our pledge and support prevention through the introduction of vaccines, awareness by promoting the needs for vaccinations and support by ensuring that those already affected receive integrated and effective support.

Linda Roberts – Jonnie Peacock’s mum – spoke at the reception and had everyone in tears as she spoke with pride and raw emotion about her family’s journey from shell-shock at his amputation to pride and delight as he secured a Gold medal at the Paralympics. She also announced that Jonnie is joining the charity as a Patron – which is fantastic news. We will be formally announcing it to the media in a few days.

TV star and highly supportive Patron, Dr Hilary Jones also spoke together with Professor Nigel Klein, of Great Ormond Street Hospital. Among the other special guests at the reception were a number MPs, members from the House of Lords and a number of research and medical professionals.

It was an exhausting but very thrilling day. Many of the MPs and members have been busy sharing their thoughts and experience on Twitter and Facebook and we have numerous follow ups with MPs wanting to send letters and ask parliamentary questions.

If Meningitis Matters has inspired you to talk to your MP let us know. We can’t take you to Westminster but we can give you the background information you may need.

Read our blog on the day

The numbers say it all

More than 30 members met their MPs, sharing their experiences and urging them to support the introduction of new vaccines as soon as they become available. This informative graphic is among the materials they gave to MPs. Click for refeences.

Signing the pledge

At Meningitis Matters we asked MPs to sign this pledge


Meningitis and septicaemia - the human cost

Many members met with their MPs as part of Meningitis Matters including;

Daniel Rowbotham
"My daughter Beren died from meningococcal septicaemia, the blood-poisoning form of the disease, in 2008, aged ten. She was diagnosed as having septicaemia by the ambulance staff and they began treatment immediately, transferring Beren to the Hereford Hospital A&E team who responded with a passion to try and save her. The disease won and sadly Beren died four hours later. Anything we can do to help eradicate meningitis in all its forms and raise awareness of the disease is so important if I can stop one family going through what we had to when Beren died then it will all be worthwhile."

Read Daniel's story in full

Jo Lofting
"My son Jack was extremely sleepy and couldn’t be woken so we called the doctor and on their arrival a rash started to appear under the skin. Jack was transferred to Guys hospital in London where he spent 16 days in hospital, three of which were in intensive care. Jack has had to deal with a lot of after effects including epilepsy, global developmental delay and has the mental age of a two year old, is non verbal and unable to eat and drink properly."

Read Jo's story in full

    Member Kathleen Hawkins met John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw. Kathleen lost limbs to meningococcal septicaemia

    Click to read the Meningitis Matters briefing document

    Why is vaccination important?

    'We should be aiming to stop every child dying of a vaccine preventable disease.'

    Nelly Ninis is a consultant in general paediatrics at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and a medical advisor to the Foundation tells us why vaccines remain a top priority.

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