ANNE GEDDES TURNS HER LENS TO MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE
When Australian-born and New York based photographer, Anne Geddes, was invited to photograph seven Australians whose lives have been impacted forever by meningococcal disease, she immediately agreed.
Anne, best known for her iconic images of children, became a global ambassador for meningococcal disease after witnessing a devastating outbreak in New Zealand while living there with her young family.
“Life after meningococcal disease requires strength, determination and a spirit of overcoming. I wanted these images to capture the impact of the disease and celebrate the resilience of each of the survivors,” said Anne.
ABOUT MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE
Meningococcal disease is a rare, but potentially devastating bacterial infection of the blood and/or membranes that line the spinal cord and brain. The illness can strike at any age, but children up to four years old and adolescents aged between 15 and 19 years old are at higher risk.1 Different strains cause invasive meningococcal disease and most Australians at risk are not fully protected.
Meningococcal disease can progress rapidly and be difficult to diagnose. The early symptoms such as fever and headache can easily be mistaken for a common cold. The distinctive meningococcal rash is an advanced symptom, which may or may not occur during infection. While most survive, if it is not diagnosed and treated quickly, meningococcal disease can lead to death or serious consequences within 24 hours.
Up to one in ten of those infected may die2,3 and around one in five may suffer serious long-term disabilities including brain damage, deafness or loss of limbs2
I WON’T GIVE UP: LIFE AFTER MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE
Anne had the opportunity to spend time with, and photograph, Australians from every state and territory in the country. Anne said, “It was important to me that I took the time to hear the powerful stories of the survivors and their families so I could do them justice as a storyteller.”
“Each journey is extremely personal, from diagnosis to living with the long-term consequences of the illness, including blindness, loss of limbs and sadly loss of life. It’s an incredible act of bravery for these seven Australians and their families to be part of this portrait series; to show their vulnerability. I am humbled they trusted me to capture their stories.”
Those photographed by Anne ranged in age from under 12 months to 36 years and each had their own story to tell. “I wanted people to look beyond the scars and the physical and emotional impact that meningococcal disease has had on each person to show the real power and emotion behind their individual story. I Won’t Give Up aims to educate and inspire by portraying the individual beauty and strength of each survivor or their family,” Anne said.
In helping to tell their stories, Anne wants Australians to be more aware about meningococcal disease and go talk to their doctor for more information about the disease and how to help protect their family.