Melinda Lancaster said: “Our daughter Amelia contracted meningitis and septicaemia at 10 months old and they told us she wouldn’t make it past the first 24 hours. She pulled through and we spent two months by her hospital while she recovered. They thought she would lose both her legs and one arm below the elbow but they managed to save everything apart from her fingers. Even though she has recovered it is an almost daily struggle to deal with the after effects of this devastating disease.” 

Rachel and Steve Clarke said: “Our eldest son Sam was four when he died from meningococcal septicaemia. He became poorly in the evening having a tummy ache and shivering but nothing obviously untoward. At 2am after waking and going to the toilet my husband noticed a purple rash on Sam’s torso. He called me and on lifting Sam’s pyjama top we saw the rash come up before our eyes – it was like he had been splattered with purple paint. In the ambulance I held Sam’s hand and told him I loved him. By the time we reached hospital he was losing consciousness. Just 9 hours after first feeling unwell Sam lost his life. We were shell-shocked. He had always been well and healthy and now he had gone. Meningitis can affect anyone at anytime and is completely devastating.”

Emily Furniss said: “My son George spent two weeks in hospital seriously ill, including a terrifying week in intensive care where he suffered three cardiac arrests and was given only a 20% chance of survival. Luckily he survived but we were shocked by the speed and severity of this appalling disease and feel just so relieved to have our little boy home in one piece when so many others aren’t so lucky.”

Jill Jones said: “When my son Robbie was ill the doctor said it was one of the worst cases he had ever seen. As a result Robbie had to have both legs amputated and his fingertips have fallen off. We had heard about meningitis but had never seen the effects it could have.”

Andrea Lemm said: “When our son Loken caught meningococcal septicaemia I didn’t even know what the disease was. He was fighting for his life for two weeks, six days on life support. He made a full recovery apart from a few scars. We are the luckiest parents in the world to still have our lovely son.”