Student who lost fingers and toes warns of the 'silent meningitis threat'

Sophie Royce was infected with the disease, meningococcal W, leading to her losing the ends of her toes and fingers and having to undergo 30 operations. 

Despite the best efforts of doctors, the disease and subsequent sepsis she suffered cost Sophie who was 21 at the time the tips of her fingers and toes. After days in ICU, Sophie finally came round to discover she had contracted a rare strain of meningitis, meningococcal septicaemia W135. Two years on, Sophie, from Reigate, Surrey, is calling for young people to get vaccinated and protect themselves. She has started her own website on Meningococcal Septicaemia, educating and supporting others.  Here is her story and why she wants to help others and spread awareness. Before I became ill. I was aware of meningitis, but thought it only affected babies and young children. I quickly found out that that is one of the biggest meningitis myths. Meningitis is such a vicious and nasty disease, hopefully we will now see a downward trend in the number of type W cases, particularly in teenagers. I will be telling everyone at uni who hasn't had their ACWY vaccine to make sure they get it ASAP. If it prevents just one case like mine it will be worth it. On July 28, 2013 I was rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning, suffering suspected meningitis. I was deteriorating extremely quickly. I remember an influx of people around my bed as they struggled to get an IV, fluids and vitals. I was then taken to the ICU where a team of amazing doctors and nurses worked on me trying to keep me stable. Antibiotics were pushed but I started to bottom out, my blood pressure and pulse started to fall dramatically. I was, by this time, purple from head to toe. My heart soon gave out as the sepsis took over, and eventually, suffered total organ failure. I was transferred to St Thomas' in central London. The sepsis had caused gangrene to my extremities and I was facing hard decisions about amputation and kidney transplantation. Two years on and there is not an hour that goes by when we do not think of my incredible medical team. They are my real life heroes.

Click here to watch the signs and symptoms of meningitis video.

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