We lost our son Toby, aged 16 months, to meningitis in 1993. All a long time ago, water under the bridge etc - you might say. One way of dealing with our grief, which we have always found helpful, is to be involved with the Meningitis Research Foundation. The charity is 20 years old this year. (When I was told that, I was then dumbfounded to realise that we have been members of the charity for all but four of its years.) Each year we put ourselves on the list to speak to the media about the illness during Meningitis week which, this year, is this week - at the height of incidences of the disease through the year.
You would have thought that our "story" would become less compelling for the media as the years go by. But I was extremely impressed by the depth with which Stacey Poole of Meridian Tonight approached the subject when she visited us today. There'll be a piece on Meridian Tonight tomorrow featuring three local families blighted by the disease. (I believe it's tomorrow, although we have put it on series link to be on the safe side.)
You can find out about meningitis here. It continues to be a serious killer, I am afraid. There are many types of the disease and vaccinations for only a few types. The symptoms often get confused with flu and it is wrong to only rely on the "tumbler test" for rashes - that often comes too late. Awareness of all the symptoms by young parents, and also fresher students (and everyone really), is essential. All the potential symptoms to look out for are explained and listed here.