Donate online today. £10 provides 1 hour of in-depth support

Media Contact

Sam williams

Sam Williams

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

Meningitis charities launch Anne Geddes' portraits of meningococcal disease survivors on World Meningitis Day

Meningitis charities launch Anne Geddes' portraits of meningococcal disease survivors on World Meningitis Day

22 April 2014

Today sees the launch of a brand new eBook, Protecting Our Tomorrows: Portraits of Meningococcal Disease, which is being released to coincide with World Meningitis Day (24th April). The eBook features images of 15 meningitis survivors from around the world and is available free on iBooks thanks to support from Apple. You can download the eBook now via the following link:

The book marks the culmination of a world-wide project which began last year, to raise awareness of this deadly disease, highlight the need for ongoing symptom vigilance and educate parents about the importance of vaccination. The campaign has been led by world renowned photographer Anne Geddes in partnership with Novartis Vaccines and meningitis charities, including Meningitis Now and Meningitis Research Foundation in the UK.

The UK has one of the highest rates of bacterial meningitis in Europe1, affecting around 3,200 individuals every year2. As many as one in ten of those infected will die3  and up to one in five survivors will be left with after-effects including brain damage, amputations and hearing loss which may require ongoing care4.

Out of the 15 inspirational individuals chosen to be photographed for this campaign, three are from the UK: Amber Travers (5), Ellie-May Challis (9) and Harvey Parry (8) are three young meningitis survivors who have all lost limbs to the disease (further details of their individual stories are provided below along with images).

Commenting on the eBook launch, Sue Davie, CEO of Meningitis Now said: “The images in this collection provide a stark reminder of the potentially devastating consequences of bacterial meningitis, a disease which continues to affect thousands of families each year in the UK. We hope this campaign will help raise greater awareness of meningitis and would urge everyone to download this free eBook on World Meningitis Day to show their support.”

Chris Head, CEO of Meningitis Research Foundation also added “Great progress has been made in controlling some forms of meningitis through vaccination but there is still much research needed and development work to be done before we can eliminate this disease altogether. It’s vital that parents ensure that their children’s vaccinations are kept up to date and that they stay vigilant for the signs and symptoms. We’re pleased to have been involved in this unique global campaign and hope it will reinforce to parents the need to educate themselves about meningitis and the preventative options available.”

Additional background information can also be found on the campaign Tumblr page:

Additional supporting quotes:

Anne Geddes, world-renowned photographer and children’s advocate
“Through a series of what I believe are inspirational photographs of meningococcal disease survivors and families impacted by the disease, this project celebrates the survivors’ triumphs and honours those who’ve tragically lost their lives. Over my 30-year career, there is not one parent I have worked with who doesn’t love their children, want to nurture their children and protect their children. Through these images, I hope parents feel empowered to understand the disease’s impact and know the options available to them.”

Andrin Oswald, Division Head, Novartis Vaccines
“Through decades of research, Novartis has developed vaccines which helped to significantly reduce the incidence of some of the most common and serious strains of meningococcal disease across the world. Much more can and should be done to make sure every child at risk gets vaccinated. This is the mission of our company. A mission that we try to fulfil to the best of our abilities and as responsibly as we can, working together with the many patient groups, physicians and public health officials who are as determined as we are.”

Information on UK participants

Amber Travers
Amber, five, from Croxteth, Liverpool, is the youngest child to be photographed by Anne Geddes. Amber lost her legs and arms after contracting the disease aged two. She is pictured with her sister Jade.

Ellie-May Challis

Ellie-May, nine, from Little Clacton, Essex, lost her lower legs and arms after contracting meningitis at 16 months. She is photographed with her twin sister Sophie.

Harvey Parry

Harvey, eight, from Enfield, Greater London, lost both of his legs to meningitis just one week after starting to walk. Harvey is now a successful child athlete.

  1. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Table 2.5.3. Number and rate of invasive meningococcal disease cases reported in EU and EEA/EFTA, 2006–09. Annual epidemiological report 2011. Available at: Accessed April 2014
  2. Meningitis Research Foundation, Meningitis and Septicaemia UK Facts & Figures webpage. Available at: Accessed April 2014
  3. Health Protection Agency. Epidemiological Data. Available at: Accessed April 2014.
  4. Rosenstein NE, et al. Meningococcal disease. N Engl J Med 2001;344:1378-88.