One day in September 2005, Sam’s daughter, Ashley, thought she had the flu. The next day, she had a headache and felt weak. When her symptoms progressed, Ashley’s father took her to a hospital where she developed a rash on her limbs and torso. The hospital was unable to identify the cause of Ashley’s symptoms, so her father rushed her to a larger hospital. There Ashley was finally diagnosed with meningococcal disease. To save her life, doctors had to amputate her left foot and some fingers. Two and a half years later, Ashley was still struggling with a great deal of pain. Faced with the most difficult decision of her life, she decided to have her right foot amputated in order to live a more active life. Today, Ashley is doing well. While Sam was aware of meningococcal vaccination, she didn’t realize how devastating the disease can be or that adolescents are at increased risk.
“I would have done anything to protect Ashley from this disease,” said Sam. “My hope is to educate other families about meningococcal disease so they can make an informed decision about vaccination.”