A MUM has told how she was inspired to protect herself against deadly meningitis by an old friend’s story about how contracting the disease had changed her life.
Megan Bordon (23), a mum of three from Swallownest, said she had never heard of the ACWY vaccine until she saw a TV interview with ex-classmate Jemma Pressman, who was on a ventilator for three months and now walks with a frame after catching meningitis at university.
Jemma is now a youth ambassador for charity Meningitis Now, which is urging all students to get the jab.
“Connecting on Facebook with Jemma with her actually ended up benefiting my health,” said Megan, a former Aston Comprehensive student.
“I watched her TV interview online about how she had contracted meningitis at uni and just how much it had changed her life.
“I couldn’t believe that this could have been prevented if the vaccine had been available when she started university.
“Nobody had made me aware that I should have this vaccine to prevent getting meningitis while I’m at uni.
“I’m so glad I watched Jemma's interview because the next day I rang my doctor's surgery to book an appointment to have the vaccine myself.”
Megan found on contacting her GP surgery that the vaccine protecting against the ACWY strains of meningitis was available for first year university students aged 18 to 25.
“It’s crazy that I had never even heard of it until I added Jemma on Facebook, and now I know quite a bit about it,” said Megan, who started at Sheffield Hallam University last week.
“I feel so much calmer and at ease about going to university now — it’s one less thing to worry about.
“I suffer with anxiety and thinking about my health can sometimes set my anxiety off.
“I like to keep myself as healthy as I can for my three young children, who depend on me.
“The vaccine literally hurt for a few seconds and that was it — I didn’t suffer from any side effects other than an aching arm, but that only lasted a few hours and the nurse made me aware that my arm would ache.
“I literally had the tiniest bit of minor pain, to be saved from contracting those four strains of meningitis, A, C, W and Y.
“I can't think why anyone would not have the vaccine if it is available to them.
“I need to thank Jemma for raising so much awareness on this vaccine.
“I have done my part by sharing her content on Facebook, and I will continue to do so, as it could help to save somebody else.”
Meningitis Now raises funds for research into the disease and to raise awareness of symptoms, which are listed tomorrow.
Visit www.meningitisnow.org for more information and to donate to the charity.