18 year old Nick Bristow from Storrington is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), after surviving the disease in February 2016.
Nick said: "I didn’t know anything about meningitis, yet in such a short space of time it left a hugely significant impression on me. One night, as was the case with me, is all it takes to become critically ill
"All I remember is I had a headache and stiff neck one Saturday evening. When I played football on the Sunday morning my neck was still really stiff. My mum tells me I completed a history essay in the evening, then went to bed with a bad headache. I do not really remember this happening, or the next 7-10 days.
"I was sick repeatedly overnight and an ambulance was called. One arrived, then another with more paramedics and then an air ambulance which brought Dr Kevin Fong. They operated on me on our front drive, putting me into a medically induced coma, then accompanied me as I was blue-lighted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. I was in a coma for 6 days.
"I cannot pinpoint the moment that I woke up. However, once I had woken up, I wasn’t able to sleep for a number of days afterwards. The strong medicine that I’d been treated with meant that I had unpleasant hallucinations, and this along with an inability to sleep took several days to pass. Although still very tired from the anaesthetic, after just over two weeks in hospital I had completed my course of antibiotics and I was able to return home. I will always be grateful for the amazing treatment I received in those two weeks, as well as the support of my friends and family.
"Despite returning home, I was still extremely tired and spent several more weeks recovering. It was not until after the Easter holidays that I felt well enough to return to college full time - Steyning Grammar School Sixth Form College. I am so thankful I made a full recovery, however, for many people this is not the case.
"I am now enjoying being a student at the University of Southampton and the whole experience seems a bit like a dream. It made me realise how easy it is to take your health for granted, especially as a student. This is why I have decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Meningitis Research Foundation."
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa it will take Nick six days to climb it in September 2017. He hopes to raise £3,000 for MRF.