Meningitis Awareness Week 2020

14th - 20th September 2020

Meningitis is still here.

Meningitis is spread through close contact. It is difficult to detect and can kill in hours. New figures from Public Health England Meningococcal Reference Unit show that cases of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia dropped significantly in England and Wales during lockdown – currently at less than a third of cases compared to the same months in previous years. However, as restrictions ease, cases are expected to rise. We must not forget: meningitis is still here.


This Meningitis Awareness Week, will you help raise life saving awareness and prevent cases of this deadly disease from rising? Read on to find out how.
Social media is a quick, easy and free way to raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia. Here are some ways you can use social media throughout Meningitis Awareness Week to help to defeat this disease.
  • 'Like' the Meningitis Research Foundation Facebook page. Be sure to share our content to your friends and family, and comment on any of the posts that resonate with you. We are always grateful to hear from our supporters, and it can help others affected by meningitis feel less alone.
  • Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram. As with Facebook, you can share our content on these platforms to help increase the reach of our important message.
  • Add a frame to your profile picture. For Facebook users, you can personalise your profile picture this week with a Meningitis Awareness Week frame. This is a quick and easy signal to your friends that you support our cause, and may prompt them to find out more.
  • Tell your story. Whichever you platform you prefer to use, use it to tell your friends, family and followers why Meningitis Awareness Week matters to you. There is nothing as effective as personal stories to make change happen.
To help you raise awareness, we've created some free digital resources that you can use to spread the word. Simply save the images you like best from the options below, and repost them to your own social media channels.


What did you miss the most during lockdown? We want to understand the impact of lockdown on people affected by meningitis, versus those without.

Please click here to take this short survey, and be in with a chance to win a gorgeous Claude & Co 'Part of Something' sweater. These gorgeous sweatshirts were created in memory of founder Abi's niece, Phoebe, who lost her life to meningitis in May 2017 at just 9 months old. If you are the lucky winner, we hope you'll wear yours with pride.

Term & Conditions

1. Entrants must be based in the UK; prize will be only be dispatched to a UK address.

2. Entrants must be 18 or older.

3. A winner be randomly selected and contacted by September 25th.
8. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

9. Only one entry will be accepted per person, and multiple entries will be disqualified.

10. Closing date for entry will be 23:59pm September 23rd 2020.

11. Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

12. The prize is as follows: the winner can choose one Claude & Co sweatshirt from the 'Part of Something' line, choosing between an Adult OR Child sweatshirt, depending on stock availability

13. The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered.

14. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

15. The winner be chosen at random using computer software.

16. The winner will be notified by email within 10 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 7 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

17. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

When Debbie's 7 year old son Nick fell ill in 2002, she remembered seeing a video featuring Dr Hilary Jones, which explained the early signs of meningitis - including the famous "tumbler test". Thanks to Debbie's quick thinking Nick was accurately diagnosed with meningitis, and has gone on to live a successful life playing rugby for Wales.

For Meningitis Awareness Week, we've given the video a special makeover to help save lives - just as it saved Nick's in 2002. Please share this video with your family and friends. You never know whose life it could save.

We rely on donations to do our work - to help us achieve our vision of a world free from meningitis and septicaemia. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic effect with the cancellation of many events and loss of tens of thousands of pounds of income for us and many other charities. Your support is needed now more than ever to keep the dream of a world free from meningitis alive. Could you donate today?

  • 90p helps families find hope, paying for the production of a detailed ‘Your Guide’ information pack for parents when a child is recovering from meningitis. 
  • £6 pays for a 30 minute call from a trained support officer, providing a lifeline for those in need of support.
  • £13 pays for the costs of including meningitis information in 1,000 ‘child health record books’, which every new mum gets after giving birth.
  • £20 pays for the cost of distributing meningitis vaccine information to 1,000 new students before they start university, to help ensure they are protected.
  • £58 funds one support worker to attend our ‘Meningitis Meet-Ups’ – a chance for families affected by meningitis to meet each other for informal peer support.
  • £97 gives doctors the tools they need to diagnose meningitis, providing accurate information on diagnosis to 100 doctors via our specialist educational handbook.
  • £160 decodes the genetic information in a sample of meningococcal bacteria, which has helped us track new forms of meningitis and campaign to introduce new vaccines to protect people.
Jessica's story
In March 2020, shortly after her 18th birthday, Jessica contracted bacterial meningitis. 'I didn’t think anything of it at first,’ she said. ‘Later on it started to feel like I’d been kicked all over my body, and I noticed a small purple mark on my wrist.' Due to COVID fears, Jessica's mother Tracey was initially unable to stay by her daughter's side in hospital.

Read Jessica's story.


"COVID-19 has made people forget about other illnesses, like meningitis – but they’re still here and still deadly. Meningitis has not gone away." - Lorna Madhani

Lorna's story
Lorna Madhani is encouraging everyone to know the signs of meningitis, after her best friend Lauren Sandell died from the disease in her first week at university. ‘I thought about Lauren so much in lockdown,' said Lorna. 'COVID-19 has made people forget about other illnesses, like meningitis – but they’re still here and still deadly. Meningitis has not gone away.'

Read Lorna's story.

'Even in the midst of a COVID pandemic, urgent action against meningitis saves lives, so it’s vital people know the signs and symptoms and how to act if someone is ill. Parents can be worried about taking a child to hospital due to concerns about COVID-19, but meningitis leads to more serious illness in young children. While the country is rightly staying alert for COVID, they must also remember to think about meningitis too.' - Rob Dawson, Director of Communications, Advocacy & Support at MRF

Jamini's story
Initially diagnosed as "just a virus", Jamini contracted bacterial meningitis in Janary 2020. She thankfully survived, but lockdown created additional difficulties for recovery. ‘All of my follow up and physio appointments were put on hold,’ she said: ‘I had to teach myself to walk again, to use my wrists again, to try and get back to normal.’

Read Jamini's story.


'I wish I’d been taught about meningitis at school. I had never even heard of it before. When they told me in hospital what I had, I didn’t know what they meant.' - Jessica Baigent

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We call for positive change as a united voice against meningitis and septicaemia, and a dedicated champion for those it affects.
Since the charity was founded in 1989, we have awarded 161 research grants. The total value of our investment in vital scientific research is over £19.1 million (€24.7 million).
We take action that benefits people directly, including training health professionals and providing support and information services.
Mike Davies contracted bacterial meningitis in 2017. This is his story.
Connect families affected by meningitis so they don’t feel alone
Connect families affected by meningitis so they don’t feel alone
£58 funds one support worker to attend our ‘Meningitis Meet-Ups’ – a chance for families affected by meningitis to meet each other for informal peer support.
Media contact
Elaine Devine - Director of Advocacy, Communications & Support
Tel: 0333 405 6248