Student who beat meningitis backs iPhone App

Student who beat meningitis backs iPhone App

26 January 2012

A student who contracted meningococcal group B disease aged 18 during her first term at Leeds University is calling on students to take advantage of a free iPhone app from national charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

The free app includes vital information on the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, details of their local A&E, latest news and a selection of fundraising challenges, as well as a game challenging them to blast the meningitis bug.

Meningitis and septicaemia are life threatening diseases that can kill in hours, or leave survivors with potentially devastating after effects sometimes as severe as brain damage, amputations and epilepsy. The diseases can affect anyone of any age, but babies, young children, teenagers and young adults are most at risk.

Meningitis and septicaemia can be hard to recognise at first. Symptoms can appear in any order, and can include fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell, just like in many mild illnesses.

Kathleen Hawkins (23) who is now studying towards a Masters in religion and public life said: “I can remember going to a dance rehearsal and felt fine, just tired but decided to have an early night. During the night I became delirious; I was shaking uncontrollably and being sick. In the morning I somehow dragged myself out of bed and opened my locked door before stumbling out of my room into the hall of the flat. The lights were blinding and I just managed to get into the kitchen where luckily, a couple of my flatmates were. The next thing I really remember were the paramedics in the kitchen asking what I had been taking and saying I would have to take a trip to A&E. I suffered multiple organ failure and was placed on life support and somehow managed to survive the first forty-eight hours but as a result of the disease I had to have both legs amputated below the knee. Being told I would lose my legs, is to this day the hardest moment I have encountered. The MRF app is a great way to learn important information about meningitis and septicaemia. So many students just like me don’t know the symptoms so the app can tell you what to look out for and get you to the nearest hospital. It only takes 30 seconds to download and could save a life."

MRF Chief Executive Chris Head said: “Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis is crucial and quick action can save lives. This app ensures people have vital life-saving information directly at their fingertips. The app also includes Bug Blaster game, a virtual battle against bacteria which seeks to combat the lack of knowledge amongst students of the disease. Students can learn about the diseases and the symptoms whilst also competing against their friends with an interactive game. The app is free and we are encouraging every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch user to download it today.”

For more information on the iPhone app please visit: or download it from the iTunes store.

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me