"We believe research into prevention, detection and treatment is the way forward. This money will help us continue that."

- Diane McConnell, Meningitis Research Foundation

02/02/2012 16:50, Report by Nick Coppack
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Evans' winning donation

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has donated £5000 to the Meningitis Research Foundation, after winning the money in a charity poker competition.

Evans beat a host of his Reds team-mates, including Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, the Da Silva twins and Federico Macheda, in the Betfair Poker Challenge for MUTV late last year, despite admitting he had “terrible cards”.

“I got off to a really bad start but there was no way I was going to let the lads beat me,” Jonny told “My first goal was just to make sure I wasn't knocked out first, but after a while I got bolder and braver and worked my way into contention. I don't normally take risks but at one point I was almost out so I figured I had nothing to lose and my risks paid off.”

Indeed, Evans and Italian striker Macheda were the last two players standing, before Jonny scooped the £5000 pot with three queens.

Diane McConnell, Ireland Manager for Meningitis Research Foundation, travelled to Manchester in January to collect the money – funds which will go a long way to helping the charity continue its vital work into prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia.

“This is a significant amount of money for us, it will help us improve thousands of lives.” she said. “Charities, like everyone else at the moment, are suffering financially, so we’re very grateful for this donation.”

Meningitis is a disease that causes inflammation to the lining around the brain and spinal cord; septicaemia is the blood poisoning form of the disease. The disease affects approximately 3,400 people each year in the United Kingdom and Ireland with babies and small children being most susceptible.

"Anyone can be affected by this dreadful disease," said McConnell. “Children can die within 24 hours of contracting the disease.

The Meningitis Research Foundation was established in 1989, with a Northern Ireland branch set up three years later. Since then, there have been a number of medical breakthroughs in the field, as McConnell explained.

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