Londoner David Coppin caught meningitis twice within five months while studying sports management at Coventry University.
The first time, he spent a week and a half in a coma – but the second time, his friends knew the symptoms and he recovered quickly.
Now David who went on to graduate from the three-year course with a 2:1. is working with Meningitis UK and the Meningitis Trust to make sure students can spot the symptoms in time.
The campaign aims to highlight that young people are particularly susceptible to the disease, especially when they return to education establishments and winter sees cases peak dramatically.
David says: ‘It’s a hard disease to diagnose – so I want everyone across the country to learn the symptoms and keep an eye on each other.’
Sue Davie, chief executive of the Bristol and Stroud-based charity, said: “The Adolescent Awareness campaign and survey aims to highlight that teenagers and young people are the second most at risk group, after babies and youngsters.
“We’ve heard tragic cases where students have gone to sleep off a hangover and been found either dangerously ill or dead in the morning.
“Knowing the signs can save lives because the sooner it is diagnosed, the better the chances of survival and avoiding outcomes such as limb loss or brain damage.”
The symptoms include headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright light, while the related illness septicaemia causes aching limbs, cold hands and feet and a rash. If you suspect that someone is suffering from meningitis, seek medical attention immediately.