Deadly disease survivor cycles 155 miles solo

SHE almost died of meningitis - but just five years on, a Wellesbourne woman has cycled more than 150 miles to raise funds for the charity that supported her recovery.

Sarah Louise Lithgow, of Loxley Close, completed her solo 155-mile journey along the Grand Union Canal in just two days, having set off from Birmingham at the crack of dawn of her first day and arriving in London by 6pm on the following day.

In 2007 Ms Lithgow had been struck down with the bacterial form of the deadly disease and had to be monitored in hospital for four weeks afterwards. She then had to take another four months off work to recover.

She puts her survival down to the doctors by whom she was treated, who are funded by the charity Meningitis UK.

Ms Lithgow said: “This devastating illness nearly took my life. Without Meningitis UK and the doctors, I would not have survived. The work they do is so important.

“Meningitis does not discriminate - it can strike anyone at any time. It takes just four hours for the disease to kill and, even if, like me, you manage to survive, it is a very long, hard road back to health.

“If I can help to raise funds for a vaccine and stop others going through what I did, then I would say two days of hard work is well worth it.”

No vaccine exists from meningitis B, which accounts for 90 per cent of meningococcal cases.

The disease can affect anyone, but the most at-risk groups the under-fives, people aged 16 to 24 and the elderly.

Symptoms can include a headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion and drowsiness and it can cause septicaemia, which leads to aching limbs, cold hands and feet and a rash.

Anyone who suspects that they or another is suffering from meningitis should seek medical attention immediately.

To find out more, visit

To sponsor Ms Lithgow, visit