Graduate who beat meningitis twice in 5 months backs Meningits Trust and Meningitis UK's awareness campaign
A MENINGITIS survivor who beat the lethal disease twice within five months has backed a charity's efforts to teach young people about its tell-tale symptoms, and make a difference between life and death.
David Coppin, 23, has launched Meningitis UK/Meningitis Trust’s national Adolescent Awareness campaign, which for the first time includes a survey of 14 to 24 year olds’ meningitis knowledge.
The initiative by the newly-merged organisation based in Kingswood in South Gloucestershire and Stroud, aims to highlight how prone to contracting the infection youngsters under 19 are.
David, from London, was studying sports management at Coventry University when he miraculously pulled through after contracting the life-threatening condition not only once but twice.
He went on to graduate from the three-year course with a 2:1.
David was in his rented student home in October 2009, when he collapsed following a bout of vomiting during the night.
His mother Lorraine, who was visiting, immediately called an ambulance and he was taken to University Hospital at Walsgrave, where staff initially suspected swine flu.
Luckily, a doctor spotted a barely visible pin-prick rash on David’s neck and antibiotics were promptly administered.
He was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia, spent a week in a coma and lost a stone-and-a-half, but made a speedy recovery and returned to his studies in January.
However, the following March, David contracted the infection again. This time around his flatmates knew the symptoms and insisted he go to hospital.
Thanks to his friends’ quick thinking and knowledge, the disease was caught quickly and he was soon on the mend.
David said his journey highlighted the need for young people to be aware of the early signs of meningitis.
"I was extremely lucky to recover from the disease twice – it was against all odds and I’m grateful to everyone who helped me get well," he said. "When I first developed symptoms, I thought I just had a bug.
"It’s a hard disease to diagnose – so I want everyone across the country to learn the symptoms and keep an eye on each other."
He added: "I felt very vulnerable – the ordeal has taught me to appreciate life.
"With meningitis, you don’t have full control of your limbs and everything becomes such a struggle – I wouldn’t wish that on anybody."
A survey carried out by the charity polling more than 2,000 people aged 14 to 24 has shown that over 50 per cent cannot name a single symptom – despite a quarter knowing someone who contracted the disease.
To find out more visit meningitis-trust.org
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