Asia cuts hair for menin­gi­tis char­ity

Bray People - - NEWS - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

BRAY woman Asia O’Driscoll had her long hair cut off be­fore Christ­mas, to raise money for the Menin­gi­tis Re­search Foun­da­tion.

‘I was ter­ri­fied,’ said Asia. ‘I was very ner­vous com­ing up to it. But when the cut­ting was be­ing done, all my friends and fam­ily were shout­ing and cheer­ing me on and Adam came up with me. He thought it was a cool thing for me to do.

‘I’m de­lighted with it now and will prob­a­bly keep it like this for a while.’

When Asia’s lit­tle brother Adam was two, the fam­ily nearly lost him to menin­gi­tis, 12 years ago.

‘He got sick on Hal­loween, was taken to the GP and rushed straight to the hos­pi­tal,’ said Asia.

‘Catch­ing it so early is what saved his life. If it hadn’t been caught in that first 24 hours he would have died. We then had to en­dure two of the dark­est weeks my fam­ily has ever en­coun­tered.’

They didn’t know if he would go blind or deaf, lose limbs, or have per­ma­nent brain dam­age.

‘As a 12 year old, see­ing your mum so dis­traught about the fact that her baby might die, or be per­ma­nently phys­i­cally or men­tally dam­aged, and see­ing your lit­tle brother hooked up to ma­chines, un­con­scious, not aware of your pres­ence, is a feel­ing that will never leave you,’ said Asia. ‘We are ex­tremely lucky that now that baby is a happy, healthy, hand­some, wreck-the-head 14 year old that makes us all so proud to be his fam­ily.’

12 peo­ple in Ire­land died from menin­gi­tis last year, and Ire­land has the high­est rate of in­va­sive menin­gi­tis in Europe.

One in 10 cases are fa­tal while a third of sur­vivors will suf­fer am­pu­ta­tions, sight loss, brain dam­age or speech prob­lems.

Money raised for the foun­da­tion will fund things such as in-depth sup­port, re­search projects, phone triage in Malawi, and in­for­ma­tion packs for GP surg­eries and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

The Menin­gi­tis Re­search foun­da­tion is sup­port­ing the de­vel­op­ment of an ef­fec­tive vac­cine for the preven­tion of menin­gi­tis, and also pro­vides sup­port for fam­i­lies and pa­tients who are af­fected.

On De­cem­ber 20, Asia shaved her hair off at the Martello in Bray. ‘My hair has al­ways been a huge part of my iden­tity, ever since I was a tiny kid, so shav­ing it off was a huge scary thing for me.’

In do­ing so, she has so far raised over €1,700 with the on­line do­na­tion page still open at gofundme.ie,

As well as the head-shave, the evening in­cluded a ta­ble quiz and raf­fle. ‘I was blown away by the gen­eros­ity of busi­nesses in Bray and Grey­stones who do­nated so many great prizes.’

Asia is a stu­dent at NCAD in Dublin, while Adam goes to Pres in Bray.

She is look­ing for­ward to hand­ing over a cheque from her ef­forts this week.

Asia O’Driscoll be­fore hav­ing her hair cut (left) and and af­ter get­ting the chop (right).

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