'Kind, caring, happy' student never woke up after contracting meningitis

A kind, caring and happy student who went to bed with a 'hangover' never woke up and died after contracting meningitis.

Alisha Bartolini was just 18 years old and in the first term of her marketing degree at Liverpool Hope University when she started getting flu-like symptoms.

The teenager, who was described as "a thoughtful and beautiful young lady", thought she might have picked up 'Freshers' flu' and went back to bed after a Halloween night out with her friends.

However, Alisha died on November 1, 2014 - and now her mum Michaela is desperately campaigning to make sure more young people get vaccinated against the infection.

Credit: Liverpool Echo

Alisha, who was a 'mother hen' that looked out for her friends, had moved to Liverpool from Wigan and was excited to start her degree in the city.Her mum Michaela said:

Michaela, who said she would do 'anything' to hear Alisha's laugh again, is backing a campaign to raise meningitis vaccination rates in the Liverpool area after figures showed the region has one of the lowest uptake rates in the country.

She said that while one of Alisha's friends from home received a letter inviting her for a vaccination, Alisha did not receive such information and wasn't aware of the threat.

As the five-year anniversary of her daughter's death approaches, Michaela remembered what a vibrant, warm and friendly person Alisha was.

One of the youngest in her year group, Alisha had only celebrated her 18th birthday shortly before moving to Liverpool - and was only at university for five short weeks before her death.

Michaela said:

Older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their noses and throats.

Students can get the vaccine via their registered GP surgery or their University Health Centre.

Meningitis Now is now carrying out a pilot campaign focusing on Liverpool, with specific efforts to work closely with universities and targeting students with ads on their main bus routes through the city.

Michaela said:

In the years since Alisha died, Liverpool Hope University has taken significant steps to ensure as many students as possible get vaccinated.

Meningitis Now is also working with other universities in the city on this important message.

John Ryan, Head of Student Welfare and Wellbeing, said:

Credit: Liverpool Echo

As well as working with universities, Meningitis Now is also supported by GPs in the North West who want to make sure all young people and not just students know about the need to be vaccinated.

Dianne Draper, Screening and Immunisations Lead, NHS England and NHS Improvement North West West, said: