Three weeks ago, 20 year old Paawan Purba from Heston died as a result of meningitis. You can read her story here.

This week I’ve been supporting Meningitis Awareness Week to help raise awareness of the symptoms. Recognizing the symptoms and acting fast can help to save lives.

Meningitis Awareness Week (19-25 September 2016) is run by Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). The charity estimates that there have been on average around 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK. They are deadly diseases that can strike 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. Babies, toddlers and young adults are most at risk, however these diseases can strike anyone, of any age, at any time.

Vaccines are available for some types of meningitis and for some age groups but MRF is working to provide evidence so that more people can get life-saving vaccines.

During Meningitis Awareness Week and beyond, you can play your part in helping to save lives.

If you are a student starting university for the first time, I urge you to get the MenACWY vaccine from your GP. The meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccination programme covers all 14 to 18 year olds and 19 to 25 year olds starting university for the first time.

Find out more here:

For everyone else, MRF has had a week of activities that will raise awareness and help to provide evidence for wider access to vaccines. Find out how to take part here:

Monday: people from across the UK and Ireland told their personal stories to their local media, highlighting the signs and symptoms.

Tuesday: saw the launch of an interactive quiz with a chance to discover more about meningitis and dispel some common myths.

Wednesday: MRF has encouraged people to write to their local MPs to find out what has happened to a public consultation that could affect the rules restricting vaccine access.

Thursday: across the UK and Ireland people wore purple to show support for meningitis.

Friday: #ff @M_R_F. Today people are sharing vital symptoms message on social media and help to save a life.

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