FRIENDS and family of a teen who tragically died from meningitis have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Lauren Sandell, of Woodford Green, passed away from group W meningococcal septicaemia (MenW) just after starting university. She was 18.

Since her untimely death last October, fundraisers created a JustGiving page, generating £15,000 for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

Sharon Sandell, Lauren’s mother, is sharing her daughter’s story to raise awareness and increase the uptake of a vaccine which could save lives.

Rob Dawson, head of communications and Support at MRF said: “We would like to thank Lauren’s family and friends for their incredible fundraising efforts and we are grateful to everyone who has made a donation to honour her memory in this way.

“The £15,000 will help us enormously in our research, awareness and support programmes to ensure that other families don’t have to go through what Lauren’s has as a result of meningitis and septicaemia.

“We’re equally grateful to Sharon for having the courage to share Lauren’s story and we know this has been crucial in helping raise awareness of the lifesaving MenACWY vaccine.”

The family is continuing to fight to raise awareness and funds.

Sam, Lauren’s brother, will run a 10k marathon in her memory next year. Dad Mark and family neighbour Michael will both run the London Marathon in 2018 to raise further funds.

The MenACWY vaccine combatting the disease is available for first year university students aged up to 25 and most 14-20-year-olds.

Click here to find out more about the vaccine.

View Lauren’s Just Giving page here.