"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.
“We’ve now got vaccines for meningitis C, pneumococcal meningitis and hib [haemophilus influenzae type B] and we’re almost there with meningitis B. That’s in the trial stages.
“We believe research is the way forward, so the money Jonny Evans donated will help us continue to fund our research programme, help us raise awareness of the disease and provide support to people affected.
“I can’t tell you how much funding like this helps. Every penny makes a difference. Thank you to Jonny for nominating us and Betfair for making it possible."
To learn more, visit www.meningitis.org. To donate to MRF by text message send GIFT00 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.