“Get vaccinated” Yorkshire mum tells students after teenage son caught deadly meningitis

Sally Butler with her son Richard
Sally Butler with her son Richard
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A Bradford mum is urging your people to get vaccinated against meningitis after her son got the disease. Catherine Scott reports.

Sally Butler can recall the terrible moment she was told her teenage son had deadly disesae meningitis.

“My teenage son Richard got ill one weekend with what seemed to be a vomiting bug,” says Sally from Bradford.

“He then began to experience discomfort of light and he was drowsy - all of this started to ring alarm bells for me. I called NHS Direct who said to ring the doctors in morning as there was an eight-hour wait for a home visit”

But during the night Richard started crying out in pain so they rushed him to A&E where he collapsed in the hospital waiting room.

“The doctors diagnosed bacterial pneumococcal meningitis and he was treated in hospital for two weeks. We’re so lucky that we didn’t lose Richard during that awful experience in 2001. Sadly he did lose his hearing, but has regained some hearing in one ear so he can hear at least some things. “

Sally is sharing her first-hand experience of meningitis during national Meningitis Awareness Week (Sept 19 to 25) to ensure other young people book an appointment with their GP to get the MenACWY vaccine.

“I would encourage all teenagers starting university or college this year to get the MenACWY vaccine to protect themselves.”

Young people going on to university or college are particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the bacteria. But this year’s school leavers are advised to get the vaccination whether starting college or not.

Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of MRF, said: “We are so grateful to Sally and Richard for raising awareness in Yorkshire during Meningitis Awareness Week. By getting the free meningitis vaccine, students are not only protecting themselves from a potentially deadly disease, but also protecting others by stopping the spread. It’s also vital for students to watch out for their friends if they’re unwell. If they have meningitis it can be like a very bad hangover that quickly gets worse. It can be deadly so act fast and get medical help.”

Share the Meningitis Awareness Week campaign (www.meningitis.org/maw2016) using #MRFAwarenessWeek.

MRF’s Freefone helpline on 080 8800 3344