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Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 16:03 UK
Meningitis charity marks 10 years

Cutting birthday cake at Meningitis UK
Steve Dayman (cutting cake) is celebrating 10 years of the charity

The Bristol-based charity Meningitis UK is marking its 10th birthday.

It was set up by Steve Dayman who lost his son Spencer, who was just 14 months old, to the disease in 1982.

Since then, he has dedicated his life to finding a vaccine to the condition which kills one in 10 victims.

Mr Dayman told BBC Bristol that the charity started up from humble beginnings north of the city.

"When we lost Spencer there weren't any organisations, charities to represent Meningitis so I set about doing the best I could to create a better understanding of the disease.

"We used to run a truck stop up at Alveston so it was from a Portakabin on the lorry park that we started fund raising.

"In those days, the general feeling [from health professionals] was that we wouldn't see a vaccine in my lifetime.

Research unit

"Since then the number of breakthroughs have been brought forward where we've seen the introduction of the Hib vaccine in 1992, the meningitis C vaccine in 1999 and the vaccine to protect against Pneumococcal meningitis."

The initial appeal, Mr Dayman added, was for a much smaller project - a dedicated meningitis research unit in the University of Bristol.

"Since then we've moved on and funded research in a number of institutions up and down the country," he added.

Part of the charity's current push is for awareness of how quickly Meningitis can strike.

"Early diagnosis and hospital treatment will make a difference in the majority of cases," he said.

"But sadly, even when the disease is identified almost immediately in the best hospital and treatment is provided in the best hands, it's still not enough to save that life.

"And that's why our ultimate goal at Meningitis UK is to find a vaccine to eradicate the disease altogether."

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