National Meningitis Association Board Member
Mother of Chris, Who Died of Meningococcal Disease
Leslie Maier's athletic, healthy son, Chris, was a senior in high school and a star soccer player when meningococcal disease tragically took his life. Just days before his death, Chris was “healthy as could be,” and scored the winning goal at the Arizona state high school soccer championship. On March 1, 2005, Chris had to leave soccer practice early because he was having a difficult time getting warm. He took a warm bath and Leslie gave him medication for his headache and fever. That night, Chris's condition worsened and he started vomiting. The next day, he couldn't feel his legs, and Leslie's husband called the paramedics. As the paramedics rushed him to the ER, Chris lapsed into a coma. The disease took Chris' life in less than 24 hours. His parents had never heard of meningococcal disease, and they didn't know it was potentially vaccine-preventable.
For more information about prevention and meningococcal vaccination recommendations, click here.
"We will love and miss him forever but are hopeful we can prevent this loss from happening to another family," said Leslie.
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Mother of Amanda, Who Survived Meningococcal Disease
Susan Israels didn't know her 26-year-old daughter, Amanda, was at risk for contracting meningococcal disease. On New Year's Amanda came home with flu-like symptoms that quickly progressed and she was hospitalized with meningococcal disease. As a result of Amanda's battle with the disease, doctors had to amputate both her feet, all of five fingers on her left hand and fingertips on her right hand. Susan and her family feel extremely lucky that Amanda survived, but know that not all families affected by meningococcal disease are as fortunate.
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