HE survived the killer bug meningitis FOUR times.
And now 18-year-old George Lane has backed Meningitis Matters, a campaign designed to keep the disease a top priority in the NHS.
Meningitis and septicaemia are caused by inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. They can kill within hours and can cause serious, disabilities even with appropriate treatment.
George went to Westminster to meet his MP, Simon Reevell, to ensure that NHS reforms do not destabilise progress made to control the disease.
The Shelley College head boy said: “I have been very lucky to survive meningitis and make a rapid recovery with no long-term effects.
“I am backing the Meningitis Matters campaign to make sure that meningitis care does not become overlooked within the NHS reforms and to ensure that other families in the UK don’t have to face what my family has been through.”
George, of Clayton West, first contracted the disease at the age of six.
Ultimately he twice pulled through pneumococcal meningitis and twice through meningococcal meningitis.
He was so seriously ill at one point, that doctors were about to switch off his life-support machine.
Doctors believe a hairline fracture George sustained as a toddler made him vulnerable to infection.
He had complained of severe headaches each time he contracted the disease, despite having no signs of the rash associated with meningitis.
And it was only due to the vigilance of his parents, who recognised the symptoms, that George managed to survive and make a full recovery from each bout of the diseases.
“I am keen to do as much as possible to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of these diseases amongst young people and think that it is vital for all young people to be immunised with every available vaccination,” said George.
With his family’s help, he has raised cash for Meningitis UK ever since.
Each year 3,400 individuals in the UK are affected by bacterial meningitis and septicaemia.
A new study has shown that 77% of parents in Yorkshire and the Humber feared meningitis more than any other infectious disease for their child.
Nearly 90% of parents questioned also said that meningitis should be considered a high public health priority and showed support for the Meningitis Matters campaign.
Earlier this week, Meningitis Matters campaigners met with their local MPs to discuss how they hoped how the NHS reforms would not change the way the disease is currently managed.
Meningitis and septicaemia kill more UK children under the age of five than any other infectious disease; babies are exceptionally vulnerable.
As many as one in 10 people affected will die and a quarter of survivors will be left with serious after-effects such as brain damage, amputated limbs and hearing loss.
Although vaccinations are available, children are not protected against all causes of meningitis.
The most common form, MenB or Meningococcal GroupB, which causes on average five cases each day, is not preventable through a vaccine. The Meningitis Matters campaign is being launched by the Meningitis Research Foundation.
For more information visit www.meningitis.org.