Many thanks

I am writing to say thank you to everyone from Gloucestershire who has supported the Meningitis Trust during 2007 - the start of our 21st anniversary year. It's only with the help of local communities that we are able to continue our vital work helping to rebuild lives shattered by meningitis.

The Meningitis Trust relies almost entirely on voluntary donations which means support from individuals, families, schools, nurseries and businesses is fundamental to its survival.

Meningitis can strike anyone, of any age, at any time. Those who survive can be left with devastating after-effects including loss of hearing, sight, brain damage and, where septicaemia (blood poisoning) has occurred, loss of limbs. These after-effects last a life time and impact all aspects of day-to-day life for the individual as well as their family, friends and colleagues. The Meningitis Trust is dedicated to helping people who have experienced meningitis rebuild their lives though its range of specialist support services.

This time of the year is particularly relevant for talking about meningitis as cases of the disease rise in the winter. The Meningitis Trust urges people to be vigilant of the signs and symptoms and to trust their instincts. Symptoms can include, fever, headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, drowsiness, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in some cases but not all, a rash that doesn't fade under pressure.

For more information, readers can call the Trust's freephone 24-hour nurse-led helpline on 0800 028 18 28 or log on to its website www.meningitis-trust.org. Alternatively, I can be contacted directly on 0845 120 4884 or mattcroxall@meningitis-trust.org Thank you all once again and best wishes for 2008.

Matt Croxall, Community Development Officer The Meningitis Trust Tel: 0845 120 4884

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