'My message to anyone who has amputations would be not to give up'
A man who almost died from meningitis says he wants to give hope to other survivors of the deadly disease.
Mike Davies from Brighton had his hands and legs amputated but now, with the help of prosthetic limbs, is able to drive a specially-adapted car and hold his own pint.
He became ill with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia at Christmas in 2017.
After several challenging months at Queen Mary's University Hospital in Roehampton, learning to walk again on prosthetic legs, Mr Davies says it's important for amputees to have hope.
“My message to anyone who has amputations would be not to give up.
“I’ve had a lot of challenges to overcome but learning to do something again for the first time is a huge deal.
“It’s amazing what you cannot do without hands but also amazing what you can.
"Problem-solving becomes an art.
“Without using prosthetic hands, I am able to feed myself using a wrist strap for cutlery.
"I can even hold a pint of beer."
Mr Davies fell ill suddenly on Christmas Eve 2017, becoming so cold his lips turned blue.
“My family insisted on the trip to the Royal Sussex County Hospital where the fantastic NHS clicked in.
“A&E became triage and that quickly became the intensive care unit.
“A rash appeared on my face which did not blanch.
"The bacteria was meningitis."
He spent 10 weeks in intensive care on the edge of survival where he began to look forward to having his hands and feet amputated, which he knew were already dead.
Mr Davies says it is thanks to the NHS and support from other people that he survived.
“I feel in quite a positive place in my mind about the challenges I still have to overcome.
"Support from other people has been key.
"I am a lucky man.”
A new digital support service has now been created by The Meningitis Research Foundation to give help to the 20% to 40% of people who survive meningitis or neonatal sepsis and who are left with problems such as hearing loss, brain damage or amputations.
The foundation's Meningitis Progress Tracker shows that, in 2017, an estimated 42 million years of healthy life were lost around the world as a result of the disease.
The foundation is working with partners including the World Health Organisation to try and defeat meningitis by 2030.
The foundation's director of support Rob Dawson said: “Meningitis is a deadly disease that strikes without warning and for the first time we are seeing just how much it is impacting people around the world.
"To see that 42 million years of healthy life has been lost is shocking.
“Some people affected tragically lose their lives, and for family and friends left behind, bereavement can mean life will never again be the same.
"Many people who survive have to adjust to life-changing impairments.”