Special role for Broughty Ferry mum

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Local mum Laura Beattie, from Broughty Ferry, has been named as a reginal ambassador for Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

MRF ambassadors are active members of the charity who all have personal experience of the disease. They have been asked to take on this new voluntary role because they have the knowledge and skills to represent the organisation at the local and regional level.

Laura told the Gazette: “I was really honoured to be asked by the foundation.

‘‘My daughter, Aila, developed Group B Streptococcus meningitis at the age of three days in 2010. It manifested as a slight pinprick rash and several spikes in temperature. When Aila first became ill both the midwives caring for us and the GP the unit called dismissed her symptoms and diagnosed her rash as erythema, a harmless and common newborn rash. Hearing stories from other families and reading MRF’s book of experience I have come to realise that misdiagnosis is scarily common, this leads to vital treatment being delayed.”

Meningitis Research Foundation estimates that meningitis and septicaemia affect approximately 10 people in the UK and Ireland every day. They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in 10, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs. Children under five and students are most at risk, but the diseases can strike at any age and not all forms are covered by vaccines.

Laura continued: “I feel so lucky that Aila not only fought back but did so without any apparent after effects. Had her treatment been delayed further, the outcome would have been so different. Meningitis and Septicaemia can kill within hours of symptoms first appearing, so acting quickly is really important.

‘‘I hope to use my Ambassador role to spread awareness of the symptoms of Meningitis and Septicaemia, to give parents and caregivers the knowledge to spot the signs and the confidence to ask for a second or even third opinion if they feel a diagnosis is not correct. I am looking for opportunities to present awareness talks to parents, teachers, teenagers and community groups.”

Contact Laura on lbeattiemtf@gmail.com