FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

MRFC brings awareness to meningitis with sky-high walk

The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada brought attention to the cause of meningitis on Wednesday by participating in a walk at the top of the tallest building in Canada.

Members and supporters of the national group for the meningitis cause in Canada joined hands to conquer their fear of heights and participated in the EdgeWalk around the circumference of the CN Tower. The walk was meant to raise awareness for the prevention, early diagnosis and quick treatment of meningitis for World Meningitis Day.

"This is a very important date in our calendars, where people around the world join hands to raise awareness of this devastating disease," Michael Redfearn, the coordinator of the MRFC, said. "Meningitis is responsible for so many unnecessary deaths each year, this disease can be prevented and we want to ensure Canadians understand the implications, and what they can do to protect their families - we believe that every Canadian family has the right to have that peace of mind."

Meningitis is a potentially deadly inflammation of the spinal cord and brain which can result from bacterial, viral or fungal infection. Bacterial meningitis can cause death in hours if it goes untreated. Survivors of bacterial meningitis can sustain brain damage, epilepsy and deafness. Adolescents, children and infants are most at risk of infection.

There are effective vaccines available to protect against many strains of bacteria that cause meningitis.

"Meningitis is very serious and I speak with my patients regularly about the importance of ensuring not only children, but adults are protected against this deadly disease," Vivien Brown, a family physician from the University of Toronto, said. "The reality is that effective immunizations are available in Canada and protect from serious illness, such as meningitis."