Welwyn Garden City man on why students should get a free meningitis vaccine after friend's tragic death
PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:55 17 September 2017
A WGC man has shared the tragic story of how his friend died after contracting meningitis to help raise awareness of the disease as the new academic year begins.
Harrison Forsyth, 25, is encouraging all eligible young people to book an appointment to get their free MenACWY vaccine.
Harrison’s friend Sarah Robotham, who lived in WGC, contracted meningitis whilst studying at university, and sadly died as a result at just 19 years old, in December 2013.
In her short life Sarah did several fundraising stunts for Macmillan Cancer Support, including a skydive.
Harrison, who met Sarah when the pair worked in John Lewis, said: “Sarah was a hard-working and determined individual who never gave up on her goals and dreams.
“In her memory and her honour, I work to help educate other young people on the dangers of meningitis and septicaemia, and how people can protect themselves from these dangers.
“What Sarah taught me was to never give up and give everything into a cause that you truly believe in.
“As an Ambassador for Meningitis Research Foundation in Hertfordshire, with the help of others in my community, I aim to share my own personal message for my truly inspiring and loving friend, Sarah.”
Harrison has shared Sarah’s story in support of national Meningitis Awareness Week, which is this week.
Teenagers are a high risk age group for meningitis and septicaemia, and university freshers are particularly at risk because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the bacteria.
The MenACWY vaccination programme was introduced in 2015 following a rapid rise in a new and particularly deadly type of meningitis - meningococcal W meningitis and septicaemia (MenW), identified by Meningitis Research Foundation’s (MRF) Meningococcus Genome Library project.
MRF’s eligibility checker makes it easy for anyone to find out if they are eligible to get the MenACWY vaccine free: www.meningitis.org/oneshot
For any questions about meningitis and septicaemia call MRF’s free helpline on 080 8800 3344 or visit www.meningitis.org.