During the planning of Living With Meningitis, way before the filming and editing even started the main ambition was to make more people aware of the massive impact it can have if not treated quickly, this meant that I wanted to include all of the symptoms, ways to catch it and also the effects it can have through personal stories of those who have been in close contact with Meningitis.
Throughout the process of filming and the initial part of editing this was still the aim, as, (after doing some research) I found that not many people were 100% sure what Meningitis was, nor did they know the true effects it could have.
However, as you may be aware, Meningitis has now been in the news… A LOT! Ex-England Rugby Captain and World Cup Winner, Matt Dawson sparked a tidal wave of media attention around Meningitis after his Son was diagnosed with the disease leaving him fighting for his life in hospital.
He took to twitter using his social media following to show people the horrible effects of Meningitis as his son Sammi lay in a hospital bed. Dawson described it as ‘two weeks of hell’ whilst himself and his wife were in limbo over their sons future.
He began posting pictures (seen below)
and started the ‘hashtag’ #vaccinateNOW. This was started because the Men B vaccination became available as of 1st September 2015 for all newborn children and because of limited funding this would only be rolled back 2-4 months prior to the date of becoming available. This, in turn, meant that Matt Dawson’s son missed out on the vaccination by around about 6 months, much like many other children who has suffered with Meningitis over the last year and a half.
From this, Meningitis Now started to gain more momentum, and backed by the massive presence of the media people started to become more aware of when this terrible disease can do. A petition was started and was backed by thousands, it became more popular when 2 year old Faye was taken to hospital with the disease and died two days later, all covered by the media. Eventually the petition which had the aim of allowing all children up to 11 have the vaccination had gained a massive 800,000 signatures and is the fastest petition in history to gain that many supporters.
Obviously, this could not go unnoticed and the matter was taken to parliament, the house of commons/lords to be debated. (I had tried to gain access to these events to cover them and include them in the Documentary but this was not granted, however I am able to use the footage captured by the news due to the fair use policy). After days/weeks of deliberation it has been decided NOT to roll the vaccination out to all of those up to the age of 11 – making thousands of people rise up and speak again on social media and in the news.
Although this is not the outcome that many wanted, it has made a difference in a sense that many more people now know what Meningitis is and how very serious it is. This has had an effect of how my documentary was to end. I wanted to finish it with a personal story which would have potentially left some with a lump in their throat and a tear in the eye. However, because more people are now aware of the illness, I feel that this ending would not have the desired effect.
Due to this, I plan on now making the ending revolve around the way it has been in the news and also been in Parliament, using the stock footage and the news footage through the fair use policy, and utilising on screen narration (rather than a voiceover) I want to show people what just one voice can spark, and if we all stand united we have a much better chance of creating a world where Meningitis is less of a worry and far less serious.