Meningitis warning for university students

David Coppin launches campaign to raise awareness of disease

A student who survived meningitis twice within five months at university is urging young people to look out for each other as they return to studies.

David Coppin, 23, is launching Meningitis UK/Meningitis Trust's national adolescent awareness campaign.

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.

Londoner David was studying sports management at Coventry University when he beat the dreaded disease twice and went on to graduate from the three-year course with a 2:1.

The first time, David was in a rented student home in October 2009, when he collapsed following a bout of vomiting during the night.

His mother Lorraine, who was visiting, called an ambulance and he was taken to University Hospital at Walsgrave, where staff initially suspected swine flu.

He looked so ill, Lorraine, of Enfield, called a chaplain to his bedside and placed him in "God's hands".

Luckily, a doctor spotted a barely visible pin-prick rash on David's neck and antibiotics were promptly administered.

He was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia, spent a week in a coma and lost a stone-and-a-half, but made a recovery and returned to studies in January.

However, the following March, David contracted the disease again, but this time his flatmates knew the symptoms and insisted he went to hospital.

Thanks to his friends' new-found knowledge, the disease was caught quickly and he was soon on the mend.

David believes if his friends had not known the signs and acted quickly his story would easily be a tragic one.

David said: "I felt very vulnerable - the ordeal has taught me to appreciate life. With meningitis, you don't have full control of your limbs and everything becomes such a struggle - I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

"When I first developed symptoms, I thought I just had a bug. I am extremely lucky to recover from the disease twice - it was against all odds and I'm grateful to everyone who helped me get well.

"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."

David, Lorraine and Meningitis UK/Trust, which have recently merged, say students are particularly prone to meningitis, which can kill in hours, with carriage rates peaking at age 19.

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 charity is offering free wallet-sized symptoms cards to all young people returning to studies by calling 0117 947 6320 or visit


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing software co...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate / Digital Account Exe...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to join...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas