Skip links

Twitter is a lifesaver…literally

Richard Hudson, Digital Media Manager with Meningitis Trust, has written an exclusive guest blog post on how twitter quite possibly saved a young boy’s life…

This week, for over 48 hours and counting, Meningitis Trust supporters, Chris and Katy Mann aka @mannix1000, have been on an awareness mission using their Twitter profile.

Chris and Katy tragically lost their three month-old son, Charlie, to meningitis in October 2010 and are so passionate to help save lives from this devastating disease, which took their baby son away.

The husband and wife team took on the challenge of contacting celebrities and well-known tweeters, and asking them to help, just by simply retweeting this message. “Hi please help with a RT. Meningitis awareness, my son died age 3 months. thanks.” Simple, but so effective.

During their mission, they received the tweet they dreamt of. Comic Ed Byrne @MrEdByrne kindly retweeted the couple’s message. Hours later they received a tweet on January 12, 2011 in the early hours which made all of the hard work worthwhile “@mannix1000 @mredbyrne Meningitis tweet prob saved my son today; I got a second opinion and they called the ambulance. Thank you both. X”

Hundreds of people have supported this mission by simply retweeting and reading Charlie’s blog. The blog has received over 36,000 hits since it was created and is now one of the main sources that lead internet users to the Meningitis Trust’s website, where people can get the vital disease information that will save lives.

This year the Trust is celebrating 25 years of supporting people after meningitis. It has come a long way since it started and is using social media and the wonders of digital technology to reach even more people with awareness and support.

The recent YouTube video of “Please ReTweet Me” has seen the Trust really embrace digital and it is not stopping.; certainly not after the success of Chris and Katy’s mission.

Meningitis will never go away; it’s a disease that can strike in minutes and kill within hours, and the Trust will continue to be there for the families who have faced meningitis, just like the Mann’s, for as long as they are needed.

Follow the Trust today @meningitistrust and if you see anything you like, why not give a simple retweet. You never know, it could be you that saves a life.

Leave a comment




  1. Love to hear stories like this. Makes you really realise how powerful Twitter is and the potential for greatness!

  2. Like this – serves to silence the naysayers that don’t think Twitter can be an effective tool. But it took brilliant integration of different channels to maximise its impact. Very good lesson to PRs to join the dots and exploit the opportunities chance can bring.

  3. Such a simple idea that works perfectly for Twitter. We’re often told how time poor we all are today, but the idea that with just a click or two of the mouse a life might be saved is a powerful one which I think more organisations (and individuals) are getting to grips with. I touched on the subject in this article yesterday – – and would be interested to hear others thoughts.

  4. Completely agree with comments above. A fascinating story in itself, but the use of Twitter is a great example of all and just shows that on Twitter, everyone is on a level playing field. We’re all human.

  5. This demonstrates that Twitter doesn’t just exist in the digital realm, it links back to the real world with very real consequences. Anybody want to know what the ROI of Twitter is….it saves lives

  6. Rob’s right. More than one channel is what can make this kind of initiative work well. Meningitis Trust also have an iPhone app which helps you identify the early signs of meningitis. A fine example of when mobile and instant answers really matter.

  7. one of the things I love about twitter is its immediacy – something which was obviously of significant value here! lovely story.

  8. As a father with a 1 & 3 year old, I can’t even begin to imagine what a loss like is like. To have the strength of character to take that loss and turn it into something so positive is incredibly admirable. Surely reinforces the power of Twitter, but for me says more about the strength of human spirit. Thanks for sharing a great story!

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever had a blog post that’s attracted this many Facebook likes. This story shows that twitter isn’t just about campaigning and fundraising, it can have a real, immediate impact upon people’s lives. Thankfully the wee boy seems to be recovering which is brilliant news!

  10. I have also experienced the immediacy of twitter. Not on such a profound level as this though. My heart goes out to both families. I applaud the couple who have take such an unbelievably tragic event in their lives and used it benefit others.

  11. Here’s an update and extract from that I’d like to share with everyone who’s taken such an interest in the story. Thank you for all your support."In the early hours of this morning (Weds 9th March) we reached 100,000 hits! We just can’t believe how far it’s come. When i first wrote it i thought maybe a few of my friends would read it but within 24 hours of posting it on Facebook it had 6,000 hits. We thought that was incredible but would never have believed that less than four months later we would hit 100,000! 300 celebrities have retweeted it and the total of their combined followers is over 37 million.It seems fitting that we reached this milestone today. A year ago today i had my 20 week scan and we found out we having a healthy baby boy. We went shopping afterwards and bought his first few outfits, James chose a dinosaur vest for him. We were going to keep the sex of the baby a secret until he was born but James came home and told his Grandma that we’d bought some blue clothes so that lasted all of a day! We went out for a meal that evening and pretty much decided then that he was called Charlie. His middle name took a bit more negotiating ;)So a year later and 100,000 people have read Charlie’s story. Sadly it doesn’t bring our baby back but it’s a lovely way to remember and honour him. Thank you to everyone who has helped us with our campaign. "