Meningitis in your words

Gemma Williams's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Co-ordination problems
Gemma Williams

My daughter, Gemma, is truly an inspirational young woman!

At 6 days old she contracted meningococcal septicaemia and now, at 26, is just finishing a BSC degree in psychology and has recently been shortlisted for our local Sport Achievement awards for gaining her Black Belt in TKD!! She volunteered selflessly for The Samaritans, The NSPCC and Acacia - no easy tasks! She is level 4 qualified in counselling plus many more qualifications on her CV. She writes poetry, having won a national competition for her poem “Butterflies” and has her poetry work in The British Museum.

Gemma has a whole list of conditions as a consequence of meningitis: An acquired brain Injury (Developmental Amnesia) Cerebral Palsy, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, stomach migraine, asthma, and suffers highly with anxiety and low self-esteem. As a child she had fits and allergies, plus a colon that just didn’t want to work!

She’s an intelligent young woman who finds learning with developmental amnesia a shear challenge to put it mildly! However, very few people would know how incredible she is as she competes and studies with able bodied people and does not divulge her “story “as an incredible and inspirational meningitis survivor.

We would like to share her journey so far so that other survivors can see that there is life after this cruel cruel illness; the journey may be filled with tears, anger, grief and fear but with guidance, support and huge buckets of courage and determination life does carry on (& can even be good!)

"Gemma is a guiding light to anyone who feels like they just want to give up"

Gemma is “a guiding light“ to anyone who feels like they just want to “give up“ - finding the right guidance and inspiration through all the heartache, frustration, anger and self-loathing can be illusive but once found it will slowly help you achieve your dreams.

In Gemma’s case, it was her inner strength and my determination, not to let meningitis stop my daughter from doing all that she wanted to do that constantly forced us to seek out ways of achieving small steps which eventually were made into “strides”.

We hope by sharing this much potted history of Gemma’s life so far that someone reading this will gain some strength and keep slowly heading towards the dreams that you have.

Karen Williams
March 2019


Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia
Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia
A major cause of meningitis