Midlothian siblings warn of meningitis dangers

Alice Easton
Alice Easton

Alice Easton and her brother Matthew from Dalkeith are sharing their first-hand experience of meningitis and septicaemia

They are speaking out during national Meningitis Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday, in the hope that they can help others recognise the signs and symptoms.

Alice (25) was just seven when she became unwell.

Her mother had stayed off work to be at home with her and noticed a visible rash and called a doctor.

“Next thing we all knew I was in the back of an ambulance, lights flashing and sirens. I was being taken to Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh,” she recalled.

“It was bacterial meningitis and septicaemia. I was in intensive care and spent several weeks in hospital recovering and then at home before I could return to school. It was a horrible experience for myself and my family to go through and I have been left with scars from the septicaemia. Never did we think we would be going through the whole thing again five years later...”

Her brother Matthew was 18 and he had just moved to Edinburgh to begin his university degree.

He was enjoying his freshers’ week, when a phone call from Matthew’s flatmate raised the alarm.

He had been vomiting all day, was sensitive to light and his friend knew something was not right.

He was diagnosedhad bacterial meningitis and had to battle for his life in intensive care.

“We have both made full recoveries,” Alice added.

“We all know and understand that we were both extremely lucky and that others in our situations have not been.

“Meningitis is now an extremely important cause for us family. I have taken part in fundraising events for Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) and will continue to do so including running the Edinburgh Half Marathon 2018.

“I urge people to take a minute out of their day to know and understand the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia. It could save lives.”

Mary Millar, Scotland manager at MRF, said, “We’re very grateful to Alice and Michael for raising awareness during Meningitis Awareness Week. At this time of year, many young people will be starting university. It’s good news that uptake of the MenACWY vaccine has been high in Scotland, but there are still some forms of the disease which are not covered by vaccines so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms. ”

○For any questions about meningitis and septicaemia call MRF’s free helpline on 080 8800 3344 or visit www.meningitis.org.