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Toddle Waddle – March 2, 2025

Toddle Waddle is observed on March 2 every year to raise awareness and encourage nurseries across the world to walk and fundraise for meningitis. Can you imagine that one of the first medications for treating meningitis was produced in horses? Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges ― the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by headache, neck stiffness, fever, inability to tolerate light or loud noises, vomiting, and confusion. Meningitis mostly affects children younger than one year old and young people between the ages of 16 and 23 years. The Toddle Waddle was created to help raise funds for meningitis research through toddler walks.

History of Toddle Waddle

According to some medical scholars, the first recorded observation of meningitis may have come from Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived between 460 B.C. and 370 B.C. There was also evidence that pre-renaissance physicians such as Avicenna knew about meningism.

In 1768, a posthumous report by Sir Robert Whytt surfaced that showed the first description of tuberculous meningitis. However, it was not until the following century that a link was made between the pathogen, ‘Tubercle bacilli,’ was linked to tuberculosis. In the 1800s, the term ‘meningitis’ was introduced by French and English physicians, who combined the words ‘meninges’ and ‘itis.’

In 1805, the first prominent meningitis epidemic occurred in Geneva, which was followed by similar outbreaks in Europe and the United States. Africa saw its first meningitis pandemic in 1840. As there was no treatment for meningitis, the fatality rate during these outbreaks was as high as 90% of the affected population.

In 1906, scientists introduced anti-meningococcal serum therapy as a treatment for meningitis. The antibodies for this serum were mostly derived from the blood of horses. That later changed to meningitis patients and people recovering from the disease. In 1930, Sara Branham introduced ‘sulphonamides’ as a treatment for meningitis, which proved to be more effective than antiserum against meningococcal bacteria.

In 1944, scientists introduced penicillin for meningitis treatment. In the late 20th century, Haemophilus vaccines became available to the public, and they helped significantly reduce the cases of meningitis caused by the pathogen of the same name.

In 1986, Meningitis Trust was established in the United Kingdom to fight meningitis. In 2013, the charity merged with Meningitis U.K. to establish Meningitis Now.

Toddle Waddle timeline

The Creation of The Word

French and English physicians create the word ‘meningitis’ by combining ‘meninges’ and ‘itis.’

The First Meningitis Epidemic

The first significant meningitis outbreak occurs in Geneva

A Treatment For Meningitis

Scientists introduce an antiserum produced in horses as a treatment for meningitis.

Meningitis Now is Born

Meningitis UK and Meningitis Trust merge to form Meningitis Now.

Toddle Waddle FAQs

How do I know if I have meningitis?

You can tell that you have meningitis if you develop any of the characteristic symptoms of the disease. These symptoms include headaches, vomiting, fever, pale skin, cold hands and feet, and limb pain.

What are the five symptoms of meningitis?

There are many symptoms associated with meningitis, but the most common ones include severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, nausea or vomiting, and sensitivity to light or loud noises.

What are the chances of dying from meningitis?

The chances of dying from meningitis caused by viruses, fungi, and parasites are low. However, that is different for bacterial meningitis as one in 10 people infected by this type of meningitis die ― according to the World Health Organization.

How to Observe Toddle Waddle

  1. Organize a Toddle Waddle event

    A Toddle Waddle is a walking competition where kids are sponsored to complete the race. You would need to define your target age group and location to get started. The location can be anywhere, and all kids can participate in the event regardless of their walking abilities. Since it’s a fundraiser, ensure all the kids have people willing to sponsor them to complete their race. Don’t forget to get trophies, medals, or ribbons for all the participants.

  2. Educate people about meningitis

    If you can’t organize a Toddle Waddle event, you can take action by sensitizing people about the disease. First things first, get your facts right about the condition. You need to know everything about the disease, from the causes and risk factors to treatment and cure. With all that information in hand, you can use whatever platform you have to raise awareness.

  3. Support meningitis research

    Meningitis research is geared towards a better understanding of the disease and developing effective treatment. You can support the research by donating to a deserving foundation for meningitis eradication.

5 Interesting Facts About Meningitis

  1. It is most common in young people

    Meningitis mainly affects infants below 12 months, adolescents, and young adults between 16 and 23 years.

  2. Different pathogens cause it

    There are several pathogens responsible for meningitis, including the common ones like Streptococcus pneumoniae, Listeria monocytogenes, viruses, and fungi.

  3. They have their peak season

    Although people can contract meningitis at all times of the year, there are different periods in the year where cases of particular types of meningitis increase.

  4. The same symptoms

    Regardless of the responsible pathogen, the symptoms of meningitis always remain the same.

  5. It spreads in communal areas

    People living in communal areas such as refugee or military camps, student areas, or mass gatherings are at a higher risk of getting meningitis.

Why Toddle Waddle is Important

  1. It is a fundraising opportunity

    The primary purpose of The Toddle Waddle is to raise funds for meningitis research, especially for children suffering from the disease. Why children? Because they are among the risk group for meningitis and adolescents and young adults. Act today to help reduce the menace of meningitis by donating to meningitis charities or organizing a meningitis fundraising event in your community.

  2. It raises awareness

    Aside from raising funds for meningitis, The Toddle Waddle raises awareness about the causes of the disease, preventative measures, and treatment options. Use your social reach and network to educate young people about meningitis.

  3. It helps reduce cases

    The Toddle Waddle supports research for additional meningitis vaccinations and raises awareness about how to avoid the disease through fundraising and awareness initiatives. All these eventually help to drive the meningitis cases down.

Toddle Waddle dates

2025March 2Sunday
2026March 2Monday
2027March 2Tuesday
2028March 2Thursday
2029March 2Friday

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