On 1 January 2014, as everyone else was celebrating the start of a new year, we had to say goodbye to my cousin Emily, the kindest, bubbliest, most wonderful girl. Emily had contracted Meningitis B which had killed her in 6 hours. Family, friends, and loved ones were heartbroken.
Meningitis B is one strand of meningitis, a disease which affects 2.8 million people around the world every year but is still not widely understood or talked about. Since Emily's death, we've been raising awareness of the disease in all sorts of different ways, for example sharing what symptoms to look out for (there's not always a rash) and the fact that meningitis does not just affect babies, which is a common misconception. Meningitis can affect anyone at any age. Emily was 19 when she died.
Losing Emily is not something that has got easier over time. We all miss her everyday, we had some incredible times together. Emily and I were really close as cousins, going off to stay with our Grandma during school holidays and getting to visit some amazing places, including our holiday to South Africa in 2010 and our trip to Turkey in 2013.
This year I'm running the Vitality London 10K in Emily's memory and to raise money for Meningitis Now, a charity that is working tirelessly to fight meningitis and do vital research to make life-saving vaccines possible.
If you're able to donate, I would be so grateful for anything you can spare. Thank you so much.