Jonnie Peacock’s mum urges people to be “meningitiswise”

The mother of Paralympic gold medal sprinter Jonnie Peacock, Linda Roberts, is encouraging the public to be “meningitiswise” during Meningitis Awareness Week (September 17-23).

Linda, who was watched by millions hugging Jonnie after he won gold at the Paralympics, has recently joined as a member of the national charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

She said: “Everyone needs to be MeningitisWise and know the symptoms as it might just save a life!

“Jonnie was diagnosed with Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia at the age of five in October 1998.

“His condition deteriorated quickly, he was delirious and then covered in a bright red rash so I wrapped him in his duvet, put him in the car and rushed him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

“Once they diagnosed meningococcal septicaemia we were advised to say our goodbyes as his condition was critical and he was induced into a coma to allow his body to fight the infection.

“After four days in hospital his brain survived but he lost his right leg below the knee and has had four further amputations since his first operation.”

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The MRF said that meningitis and septicaemia affect around 3,600 people in the UK and Ireland annually.

Both are deadly diseases that can strike anyone 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.

The foundation launches its annual Meningitis Awareness Week on Monday 17 September.

The MRF is currently funding 17 research projects into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia.

They spend approximately �1m every year raising awareness and supporting those affected.

For more information please contact the foundation’s freephone helpline on 080 8800 3344, or visit their website at:

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