The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) is proud to be partnering with internationally-renowned photographer and children’s advocate Anne Geddes and Novartis Vaccines for the Protecting Our Tomorrows: Portraits of Meningococcal Disease project – a global initiative to raise awareness of the sudden and profound impact of meningococcal disease. Through powerful photos of inspiring survivors and families who have lost someone to the disease, we, with our member organisations worldwide, aim to encourage informed discussion around this vaccine-preventable illness.
The Protecting Our Tomorrows: Portraits of Meningococcal Disease image collection includes participants from around the world – including Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the UK and – and is available to the public for free in an eBook that launched on World Meningitis Day 24 April 2014.
Over the course of her year-long, three-continent journey that began in Australia in September 2013, Anne worked with CoMO member organisations for advocacy engagements on the regional level. You can have a look at how the project developed through the official Protecting our Tomorrows: Portraits of Meningococcal Disease Tumblr page.
Anne Geddes has dedicated her career to creating iconic images that capture the innocence of children. In addition, Anne has passionately championed children’s health issues and protecting the children from preventable diseases for over two decades. Believing that every child’s life is precious, Anne hopes to save lives by spreading awareness about vaccine-preventable illnesses. To this end, Anne’s advocacy work has included her role as an Ambassador for the United Nations “Shot @ Life” campaign, that provides life-saving vaccines to children in the developing world. Joining with CoMO and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics on the Protecting our Tomorrows: Portraits of Meningococcal Disease project continues her devotion to helping the world’s children.
Protecting Our Tomorrows is sponsored by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.
When Bernadette was three years old, her father Danilo came home from work to find her with a high fever and took her to the hospital to be treated for meningococcal disease. There, Danilo and his wife Mary had to make the difficult decision to amputate her legs or lose her life. After weeks in the hospital, she began her recovery following the amputation of both legs below the knees and parts of her fingers. Now six, Bernadette is walking, smiling, and inspiring all around her.
Danielle contracted meningococcal disease at only 14 months of age. However, after weeks in intensive care, and amputations including her left arm and most of her toes, Danielle survived. Now 20 years old, Danielle aspires to be an equestrian Paralympian. On her decision to participate in Protecting Our Tomorrows, Danielle recently told media: “I hope that people see the affect that meningococcal can have, and feel they need to become more educated.”
Meet Harvey. Harvey lost his legs and fingers to meningococcal disease when he was just two years of age. Not only has he learned how to walk again but he has mastered running with prosthetic legs. In fact, he recently won four gold medals at an international athletics competition for those with physical disabilities.
Amber contracted meningococcal disease when she was only two years old and lost parts of both her arms and legs. Here she is pictured with her older sister Jade and her immeasurable strength is inspiring others.
Nine year old Ellie May is here with her twin sister Sophie. Ellie May contracted the near-fatal meningococcal disease when she was only 16 months old. The disease may have taken both Ellie's arms adn legs, but she remains an activie girl with the help of prosthetic legs.
Mackie contracted meningococcal disease when he was just three years old. His father, Jeremy, identified his son’s symptoms at onset and accompanied him as he was airlifted by helicopter to a specialty center for treatment. Mackie lost his fingertips and the toes on his right foot. Now age 10, Anne marveled at Mackie’s poise and insight during their time together at the Sydney shoot.