Devon man to run London Marathon after two meningitis infections in his family

16 Sep 2022
Devon man to run London Marathon after two meningitis infections in his family

A Devon man, whose family was struck twice by meningococcal disease a few years apart, is set to run the London Marathon in memory of his brother.

Adam Bance, from Plymouth, will be taking on his first marathon to raise lifesaving funds and awareness for Meningitis Research Foundation, in a bid to help other families, who like his own, have been devastated by a meningitis diagnosis.

Thomas BanceAdam, 38, who works as manager for Princess Yachts, was 7, when his younger brother, Thomas, contracted group B meningococcal disease, a form of meningitis more commonly known as MenB, shortly before his second birthday. Thomas was taken ill suddenly and the infection took hold rapidly. Sadly, he slipped away on Valentine’s Day in 1992, less than 24 hours after first falling ill. 

Just three years later Adam’s family were dealt another blow, with a second meningitis diagnosis. This time, another of Adam’s brothers, Matthew, was diagnosed with the same disease, but caused by a different strain of bacteria, MenC. Matthew’s symptoms included headache, sore neck, a rash and dislike of bright lights, which his parents immediately recognised to be signs of meningitis. Their quick recognition of potential meningitis symptoms meant they sought immediate medical attention. Matthew spent many months in hospital and has since made a full recovery.

Adam, a father of two, said: “Meningitis Research Foundation is a cause close to my family’s heart, having lost my little brother to meningitis and, then a few years later, another of my brothers falling ill.

“Twenty years ago there was much less awareness of meningitis. Move forward a few years, there was more research on how to detect meningitis and Matthew was given the medical help he needed right away. He was in hospital for a very long time but the awareness of my parents and the doctors saved his life."

“We were just unlucky to have two of our family affected a few years apart. Meningitis had a massive impact on my childhood and changed my family’s life forever, that’s why I’m running the marathon for my brothers, and in memory of Thomas. I want to help other families like ours, because raising awareness and helping support services through this difficult time is crucial as ever.”

This will be Adam’s first marathon and he will be one of more than 200 Meningitis Research Foundation runners racing to defeat meningitis, raising vital funds and awareness, ahead of World Meningitis Day 2022, which takes place just three days after the London Marathon on Wednesday 5th October.

Globally, bacterial meningitis kills 1 in 10 people who contract it and causes life-long disability for 1 in 5 survivors. Symptoms can be confused with other illnesses, like COVID or flu, and it can kill within hours.

Every year, people from all over the world come together for World Meningitis Day to raise awareness of the disease. This year, for the first time in history there is a Global Road Map to Defeat Meningitis by 2030. By turning the World Health Organisation’s road map into reality, it could save more than 200,000 lives every year and significantly reduce disabilities caused by meningitis. To mark World Meningitis Day activities will be taking place worldwide to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms, the vaccines available and that it is a disease that needs global attention and effort to be defeated.

Ian Beningfield, Head of Fundraising for Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “Meningitis can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time and is a race against time because it has the potential to kill within hours. Our vision is a world free of meningitis and the clock is ticking to make every day to 2030 count. We are incredibly grateful to Adam and all our marathon runners who have trained tirelessly for many months, at times in extreme weather conditions, in preparation for this year’s event. Not only are they helping to bring greater attention to a global health issue that needs to be defeated, but every penny raised will be used to help fund vital research and support families impacted by this devastating disease.”

To sponsor Adam, visit:

For information about how to get involved in World Meningitis Day and join the global effort to defeat meningitis, visit:

Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
£160/€190/$214 decodes the genetic information in a sample of meningococcal bacteria. This information helps us to track new forms of meningitis and campaign to introduce new vaccines.