Meningitis Awareness Week 2013

Journalist

This week marks Meningitis Awareness Week. Thanks to your support, we’re able to help people affected by meningitis like James and his family.

BBC Children in Need helped James and his family who were all affected by meningitis.

James, who’s nearly seven, is always on the go! He loves playing outside – especially on his trampoline. But his mum and dad always have to keep an eye on him because he’s more fragile than many children. He was born 24 weeks prematurely, weighing just a pound. Then, in February 2007 when he was still just a baby, he fell ill with meningococcal septicaemia. As a result, he has poor eyesight, learning difficulties, mobility and balance problems.

To help James at school, a special educational needs worker supports him so that he has the best chance of achieving his full potential. But his illness affected the rest of his family too. His parents were desperately worried about him and his older sister Melissa watched him fight for his life. So they and little sister Trudy, who’s four, were all invited to go to the Meningitis Trust’s Family Day in Northern Ireland, that’s funded by BBC Children in Need. There, Melissa met an art therapist and continues to have Art Therapy to help her work through her fears and worries. They also met and became firm friends with another family who’d been through a similarly frightening experience. Now the two mums regularly meet up for coffee to support each other.

Thanks to your donations, BBC Children in Need was able to award a grant of £3,000 to pay for families like James’ in Northern Ireland who have experienced meningitis to go to their local Family Day.

They were just one of the 21 families who were able to enjoy the family day at Stormont Pavilion on September 14 with activities ranging from Jo Jingles music sessions to face painting, balloon modellers, craft tables, cupcake making and mask designing.

We wanted to tell you all about James to mark Meningitis Awareness Week which takes place to coincide with the increased risk of contracting meningitis – a swelling of the brain and spinal cord lining and septicaemia – blood poisoning – as we move into autumn and winter. To find out more about the difference your money makes, visit our 'Who You Help' section.

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