Party cash boosts funds

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A Banchory man raised £600 for the Meningitis Trust and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital at his 40th birthday party, to thank them for looking after his son, who contracted the killer disease.

Kevin Tracy celebrated his 40th birthday recently by raising the money in gratitude for his son Findlay’s health.

Findlay, now aged eight, was only four months old when he was diagnosed with meningitis. Fortunately, Findlay has no real long-term effects caused by this terrible disease and the family said it was lucky that Findlay was a little fighter and was still with them today.

Kevin asked all his guests to give donations to the two organisations rather than bringing gifts to his party.

He said: “I wanted to do this to give something back to help them continue to do the great work that they do today.

“Both The Meningitis Trust and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital are personal to my family and I. And I would like to thank all my family and friends for giving so generously so I could raise this fantastic sum of money.”

Jo Stevenson is the Meningitis Trust’s Community Development Officer for Scotland.

She said: “What a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone in your life! We are so grateful to Kevin and his friends and family for their generosity - it will really help the Meningitis Trust continue to provide emotional and practical support to families who have been affected by meningitis. “

Meningitis is a terrifying disease which can strike at great speed and change a person’s future - through death or disablement - in just a few short hours.

It also remains responsible for the deaths of more children under the age of five, than any other infectious disease.

As the UK’s longest-established meningitis charity, the Meningitis Trust provides the best support services possible and helps 20,000 people every year to rebuild their lives.

Kevin said: “The Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital were excellent during the two weeks that Findlay was in hospital. They were a great support to Lynne and I during that very difficult time and every day we are grateful that our son Findlay pulled through. We just can’t thank them enough for everything that they did for us.”

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It can strike quickly and kill within hours - its impact can last a lifetime.

Each year in the UK there are about 2,500 cases of bacterial meningitis and an estimated 5,000 cases of viral. Up to 500,000 people in the UK have had meningitis. Those most at risk are children under five, young people (15 to 24) and adults over 55.

The Meningitis Trust started in 1986 and, since then, has supported people as they face life after meningitis.

It provides the widest range of free services and community-based support for people affected by meningitis across the UK, and raises awareness of the disease and funds research into its long-term impact.

The Piper reported earlier this month on a Banchory Academy teacher who is backing a new campaign by the Meningitis Trust calling for assessments and educational support to beome routine for every child who survives the disease.

Claire Gillespie, a support for learning teacher at the academy, thinks the Trust’s new campaign could help children and adult survivors of the disease cope with their lives in the years after they recover.

One in four people who survive meningitis will suffer some form of long-term after effects, such as loss of limbs and blindness and others - who appear to have made a full recovery - are left with psychological and neurological problems that often go unrecognised.

For more information visit the website www.meningitis-trust.org, call 0800 0281828 or download its free app at www.meningitisapp.co.uk