As we enter National Meningitis Awareness Week, a grieving mum has opened up about how the illness killed her daughter after mistaking the symptoms for a hangover.
21-year-old Jennifer Gray, felt sick and had a mild headache following a night out with her friends, but just a day later was in a coma, reports the Daily Record.
It was only after Jennifer died that her parents were told that she’d contracted bacterial meningitis.
Speaking to the Daily Record her mum Edwina said she now wants to educate young people about the disease.
Meningitis struck my family. It came for us like a bolt from the blue.
Her symptoms were atypical. She didn’t have a rash. When she phoned NHS 24, that was one of the things they were asking her.
Even when we took her to the out-of-hours GP, the doctor thought she had the flu.
Jennifer was in her third year at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) studying forensic science.
In early April, she had a persistent cold with a sore throat and a cough and on April 15th she went home early from a night out feeling unwell.
The following morning, she still felt sick and had a headache, sore joints and nausea – but both Jennifer and her parents thought she had a bug or a hangover.
By Sunday her symptoms had worsened and she was admitted to hospital.
I was shocked by the condition she was in. She looked horrendous. Within that hour since I last saw her, there was a rapid increase in symptoms.
The hospital said they hadn’t seen the illness move as fast as with Jennifer. She came in with vague symptoms and within hours, she was dead.
As an organ donor, Jennifer’s organs have saved the lives of five people and she was awarded a posthumous degree from UWS.
Her parents have worked to tirelessly to raise awareness about the disease that took their daughter.
I just want people to know how fast the illness took her. One minute she was fine. The next minute she was brain dead.
We want to keep on going to make sure something like that doesn’t happen to anyone else.
According to the Meningitis Research Foundation university and college students have a higher risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they mix with so many other people.
If you or someone you know is concerned bout your health you should call NHS direct on 111.
For more information about Meningitis and its symptoms visit meningitisnow.org