Meningitis charity trekkers raise over £20,000 in George’s memory

15 Jun 2019
Meningitis charity trekkers raise over £20,000 in George’s memory

Nearly two years after her son died tragically, a Bristol mum and her friends are taking on a South American trekking challenge to raise £24,000 for Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) in his memory. 

Meningitis and septicaemia are deadly diseases that strike without warning. Elaine Zographou’s son George died suddenly of meningococcal B meningitis (MenB) after being taken ill at a festival in August 2017. 

MRF is a leading UK and international charity working to defeat meningitis based in Bristol. The charity estimates that each year there are nearly 2,500 UK cases of bacterial meningitis and meningococcal disease. 

“I’m doing this trek to Peru for my son and Meningitis Research Foundation and it helps me keep going." - Elaine Zographu

Since George’s death, the family have fundraised for MRF and their upcoming journey comes just before the two year anniversary of George’s death.  George’s mum, Elaine said “I’m doing this trek to Peru for my son and Meningitis Research Foundation and it helps me keep going.  As a parent it is hard, and I have mixed feelings since George’s death, but I am raising awareness about meningitis and I want to make sure George is not forgotten. 

“We have decided to channel our grief into something positive and make a change by trekking to Macchu Picchu in the year he would have turned 21.  We want to fund a future vaccine for everyone and raising money for research will help that.”

Elaine will be joined by five friends of the family on her fundraising adventure, leaving the UK on Friday 28 June.  Together, Elaine, Emma White, Julie Kigira, Pat Milburn, Sylvia Vincent and her daughter Tegan are known as the ‘Macchu Peach Crew’.

Eighteen year old Tegan has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects muscle control and movement, and she has been participating fully in the training.  Elaine called Tegan an “amazing girl” as the trip is extra challenging for her.  Tegan said:  “Every day is different but I usually start off quite rigid and stiff and it’s difficult to move.  On a bad day I’d be extremely slow and would have spasms, so when I’m walking I have to be very cautious and careful about everything around me as it is easy to overbalance.

“The more I walk the easier it gets.  Sometimes I want to give up, but on the top of a mountain or half way home makes giving up very difficult as after all there’s no other way back and that keeps me laughing and motivated.”

Last weekend, Tegan, Elaine and the team climbed Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in south Wales to prepare for the tough terrain they will face on their hike to Macchu Picchu.  So far, the team have raised nearly £22,000 and to help the ‘Machu Peach Crew’ reach their target donate via their Just Giving page

Rob Dawson, Director of Support at MRF said, “We are really grateful to Elaine, Tegan and the whole team for taking on this huge challenge to help raise funds for MRF in memory of George. Meningitis and septicaemia can strike quickly, sometimes killing in hours, and leaving some survivors with life-changing after effects. These vital funds raised will help to protect more people from meningitis.” 

In the UK, one in ten people affected will die and a third of survivors will be left with after-effects, some as serious as brain damage, amputations, blindness or hearing loss.

Early symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.

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