New MRF Ambassador in Kent
18 November 2013
Dawn Whiteman from Crayford has been named as a regional Ambassador for international charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) just as winter sets in and historically cases of the disease rise.
MRF estimates that meningitis and septicaemia affect approx ten people in the UK and Ireland every day. They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs. Children under five and students are most at risk, but the diseases can strike at any age and not all forms are covered by vaccines.
Dawn said: “my beautiful granddaughter Maya died of meningococcal septicaemia in August 2012, aged 21 months. She was my world, my life, my everything and she was taken from us in sixteen hours. It was such a shock how quickly this disease took effect. It is so important to spread awareness of the disease and we have been raising money in Maya’s memory for MRF who have supported our family since she died. Hopefully a cure can be found so other families don’t have to endure the same pain and heartbreak that we are going through. Thank to you everyone that has supported our fundraising efforts in the past year and if anyone would like to make a donation please visit our page at: http://www.meningitis.org/remembrance-funds/remember-maya
MRF Ambassadors are active members of the charity who all have personal experience of the diseases. They have been asked to take on this new voluntary role because they have the knowledge and skills to represent the organisation at the local and regional level.
Chris Head, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said: “We are delighted that Dawn has agreed to represent the work we do Kent. A Remembrance Fund set up in Maya’s memory has raised over £45,000 through a variety of events including banger racing and a ball last weekend. We have 50 Ambassadors like Dawn in the UK and Wales and they take on a variety of roles from speaking to the local media about our latest campaigns to giving talks in nurseries, schools and colleges across the region. They can also offer tips and resources for local people who want to get involved in fundraising for us; as well as organising, participating in and assisting with events.”
Meningitis is a hot topic in the UK and Ireland right now because a new vaccine for Meningococcal B infection (Men B) the strain which Maya sadly died from is currently under-consideration. Other vaccines have almost eliminated many other types of meningitis, but people cannot assume they are fully protected against all strains so our Ambassadors are spreading the word about the symptoms. People need to act fast if they suspect meningitis, it is essential to saving lives.”
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