The UK's longest established meningitis charity - the Meningitis Trust - is encouraging carers across the UK to speak out and earn the recognition that they deserve, as part of Carers' Week (8-14 June).
An incredible six million people in the UK provide unpaid care to someone they know and save the government £87bn each year.
Sue Davie, Chief Executive at the Meningitis Trust says: "We were not shocked to learn that £87bn is saved through people looking after friends and family, as every day we hear how people have had to adapt their lives following meningitis - many giving up their career to look after a loved one."
For those who survive meningitis, some will be left with devastating after-effects, including brain damage, hearing and sight loss and, where septicaemia (blood poisoning) has occurred, loss of limbs. These are all life-changing effects that have a huge impact on the life of the patient and those around them. Some will need full-time care for the rest of their lives.
But it's not just the individual who has to live with the impact of meningitis - their family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and even whole communities are left to pick up the pieces.
The Meningitis Trust understands the importance of supporting people affected by the disease. It offers practical and emotional support for life to anyone who needs it. For 2008-2009 the Trust gave out £150,000 in financial support grants, which help with anything from respite care for family carers, to wheelchairs, speech therapy and specialist equipment.