By a Pluto Reporter
Meningitis Now are a registered charity which have formed over the past few years from the merging of Meningitis UK and Meningitis Trust. They primarily offer support and help to the families and victims of those effected by Meningitis. They do this through fundraising, campaigns raising awareness, resources i.e. counselling facilities and victims groups, and research.
Earlier this year a survey was carried out, targeting students, to see how much awareness there is of Meningitis. The results had surprisingly low figures, such as over 12% of all cases occur in the 14 – 24 age group, with first year university students being at particular risk. This has brought about the awareness campaign this year, following the launch of the new Men ACWY vaccination in July 2015, which is now available free on the NHS to students aged 17-25 years.
UCLan Meningitis Now are the first society to be affiliated in the whole of the UK and are hoping to make a big impact, encouraging other universities to follow suit. Keeley Whitehead the president of ‘UCLan Men Now’ was struck down with Meningitis herself at the age of 24, and as a result has been left with an acquired brain injury and mobility issues. Keeley first got involved with Meningitis Now in March 2015, after being asked to share her story on their website. She has since become a ‘Future Leader’ for the charity and states “It is really important, especially for young adults to know what symptoms to look out for and how to react if somebody was struck down, as I was. There is small window frame between permanent damage and surviving. Most people look out for the rash, which is actually one of the last symptoms to appear. I didn’t get the rash at all but was still given hours to live! Having awareness could be the difference of live or death and it is extremely important students are aware. My aim is to get as many symptoms posters and knowledge out on campus as I can.”
The week commencing the 19th October 2015 is the official nationwide ‘student awareness week’ for Meningitis Now and UCLan Men Now are planning a huge hall sweep with the intention of getting an A5 sized symptoms poster on every fridge door, in every university halls flat. If anyone is interested in volunteering for the society, please contact Keeley on KLWhitehead1@uclan.ac.uk for more details.
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