Christmas Appeal 2017

Cases of meningitis and septicaemia usually peak at Christmas and New Year in the UK and Ireland.

As a result that is when we have most call on our support services - people needing to understand what is happening to their loved one or needing support to deal with the often tragic consequences of the diseases.

Our membership and support team are there for anyone affected to provide support through:

  • our helpline
  • community visiting
  • our befriending service

This holiday season we ask you to support our support team by donating to our Christmas appeal.

‘’On 23rd December 2014 my life changed forever"- Di Spalding

Christmas Tragedy

Di Spalding and her family know only too well the dangers of meningitis and septicaemia over the holiday season.

Husband and father, Dr John Spalding, 55, woke up with what he thought was a cold at 3 am on December 23. Ten hours later he had died.

"Ours was a sudden loss with no warning," says Di.

John, a practicing GP for 27 years, had no idea his "cold" was in fact a particularly aggressive strain of meningitis and septicaemia.

After taking paracetamol and ibuprofen, John awoke again at 6.45 feeling sick.

Around midday, John was sitting on the end of the bed, but then he fell backwards. John knew himself it was serious and asked his wife to call an ambulance.

Di did as he said but his colour and breathing were rapidly deteriorating.

Over the phone the operator told Di to get him on the floor and start CPR. She did this until the ambulance came, even though she knew by then that her husband was already dead. 

From first symptoms to death was less than twelve hours.

A post mortem showed that the cause of death was found to be Group W meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia (MenW).

"Not having the chance to hold John and tell him how much I loved him was so hard.

There was no time to adjust to our life without him." 




Information and support is available through our Freefone helpline. "Just want to say thank you for helping me through this. I am very grateful for all your support." "Thank you so much for listening and being there this week, out of all the doctors and people I've been dealing with you're one of the few people who has taken the time to listen especially when I feel like I'm drowning under this huge recovery mountain and I really appreciate it." Your £25 means when a worried family has questions we will be there with answers


Our befriending service offers support from people who truly understand. "It was really helpful to speak to someone who has had a similar experience and remind me that even though it doesn't feel like it at the moment there will eventually be light at the end of what currently feels like a never ending very long recovery tunnel." "It was really good to be able to speak to my befriender who was lovely and understood a lot of my daily struggles at the minute." £50 from you means a bereaved parent can talk to someone who truly understands how they feel
Home visits

Home visits

Sometimes it’s best to talk face-to-face. Skilled and compassionate MRF staff travel throughout the UK and Ireland visiting people coming to terms with the long-term impact of meningitis and septicaemia. “When we lost our young son to meningococcal septicaemia we were put in touch with the support team. They spent time supporting us on the phone, they came to visit us, and they provided us with the information that we craved at the time to make the tiniest bit of sense about what had happened so tragically to our family." Your £100 means we can be with a family to help them through their grief.

Whatever you choose to give you'll be ensuring that families don't have to face meningitis alone.

Thank you!

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Please do what you can today and help save and change the lives of thousands