Meet Rosie Galligan, England rugby player and Meningitis Now ambassador

The 2024 London Marathon is fast approaching us on Sunday 21st April, with a reported 50,000 people getting ready to take on the 26.2 miles and we'll be there with our friends at Meningitis Now cheering everyone on.

Just before the big day, we caught up with Meningitis Now ambassador, Rosie Galligan, to hear more about her road to playing Rugby for her country and her own experience with Meningitis.  


CG - First of all, tell us about how you got into playing rugby.

RG - I started playing rugby when I was 16. It was one summer and my older brother needed a girl to play on his touch team at Aylesford Rugby Club. I really enjoyed the social element and decided to join the girls setup for that season. I haven’t looked back since.

CG - We know you as an ambassador for the wonderful Meningitis Now having experienced the disease first hand. How old were you when you contracted meningitis and at what point did you realise how serious it was?

RG - I was 21 when I contracted bacterial meningitis. It was a Friday evening and I was trying to sleep when my body felt really sore and restless. I was really sick and called my dad to come and pick me up from where I was staying. The following morning after a night of no sleep my mum came into my room and saw a small red rash. I was white as a ghost, really clammy and my body was so sore. She called 111 and they sent an ambulance and blue lighted me into hospital where I spent 10 days in a private room recovering.


CG - What did you learn from having meningitis and your recovery journey?

RG - I learnt not to take life for granted. Do things that make you happy and spend it with people who make you feel good. Meningitis (and breaking my ankle) has made me the person I am today. I am so much stronger both mentally and physically for it. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the adversity, so I’m grateful to be able to share my story and say I have become a better person for it. I work with Meningitis Now as a Celebrity Ambassador and try and do my bit to share the signs and symptoms of meningitis to people who follow my rugby journey. 

CG - What’s next for you?

RG - My short term goal is to be happy and play good rugby! My long term goal is to win the World Cup in 2025. Nothing could beat a sold out Twickenham Stadium at a home World Cup.

We have a feeling with Rosie's determination and skill, she'll beat her goals just as she did meningitis.

Good luck to everyone taking part in the 2024 London Marathon, give us and our Meningitis Now family a wave at mile 23, just by the Walrus and Carpenter Pub.

For more information on Meningitis Now, how to spot the symptoms of meningitis, fundraising ideas and how to support the team, head to their website