Donna Sentel’s athletic, healthy daughter, Elizabeth, was a sophomore in college with hopes of becoming a teacher, when meningococcal disease tragically took her life. In February 2003, Elizabeth told her mother she felt something was wrong with her body, but could not identify what was causing her uneasiness. The next day, she awoke with what she thought was a cold or the flu. Later that evening, Elizabeth went to the hospital because she thought she was having an allergic reaction to the Tylenol she took earlier. After arriving at the hospital, Elizabeth’s condition progressed and her heart began to fail. Sadly, her fight against meningococcal meningitis ended just five hours later. It was only after Elizabeth’s death that Donna learned vaccination can prevent meningococcal disease.
“This disease attacks so fast, and is so deadly and dangerous,” says Donna. “If you could save your kids, you would certainly try. We were not aware that vaccination may have prevented Elizabeth’s death.”