West Dorset woman take up reigns as regional ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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West Dorset woman take up reigns as regional ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation
A WEST Dorset woman has become a regional ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation.
After a tragic death in her own family, Catherine Schrier from Beaminster hopes that she can help raise awareness of the disease as part of Meningitis Awareness Week this week until Sunday.
Catherine’s nephew died at the age of three from pneumococcal meningitis and she is backing the campaign to alert people to the signs of the disease, which can strike without warning.
Catherine said: “My nephew Oscar died of pneumococcal meningitis aged three in 2001. He had a bit of a temperature and sore throat and we thought he was starting a cold so my sister Emma gave him some Calpol, but by the next morning he was really ill.
“They took him to the GP who also thought he was getting a cold and sent them home, advising a top up of Calpol.
“When Oscar started to plunge in and out of consciousness we rushed him to hospital in Bridport where he was quickly transferred to Dorchester hospital where meningitis was diagnosed.
“He was given a lumbar puncture and they decided to put him under to try and save him. They were amazing.
“He was transferred to Southampton General Hospital by police escort but it was too late. “The next day my sister had to make the tough decision to turn off the life support. We were numb.
“Neither of us thought Oscar wouldn’t be coming home with us.
“Knowing the symptoms and acting quickly can mean the difference between life and death and I’m honoured to have been asked to become an ambassador and will make sure my local community knows what to look out for.”
The Meningitis Research Foundation estimates that meningitis and septicaemia affect approx ten people in the UK and Ireland every day.
They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.
Children under five and students are most at risk, but the diseases can strike at any age and not all forms are covered by vaccines.
Chris Head, chief executive of the Meningitis Research Foundation said: “Catherine brings many qualities to this role and we are delighted she has agreed to represent the work we do in Beaminster.
“We now have 50 ambassadors in the UK and Wales and they take on a variety of roles from speaking to the local media about our latest campaigns to giving talks in nurseries, schools and colleges across the region. They can also offer tips and resources for local people who want to get involved in fundraising for us; as well as organising, participating in and assisting with events.”
- To find out more about the symptoms visit the MRF website meningitis.org