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Krystle Beauchamp Grindley

Krystle was in her last semester as an undergraduate student at the University of New Orleans in 2005 when she woke up feeling ill. As the day progressed, she experienced problems with her mobility and vision. She called her father, and he carried her to his car and drove her to an emergency room. Because they suspected bacterial meningitis, doctors performed a spinal tap and checked to see if Krystle could bend her head or neck. She remained in the hospital for several weeks while she recovered the disease and associated complications. At the time of her diagnosis, meningococcal vaccination was not yet required in Louisiana.

Elizabeth Garrett

Jeri Acosta

Jeri’s son, Robert, was an active, energetic student at The University of Louisiana – Lafayette when he began feeling ill and complained of groin pain. At the school health center, he was diagnosed with a pulled muscle and sent home. Shortly after, Robert started vomiting and was rushed to the hospital, where a rash developed over his body. He was placed in the ICU and diagnosed with meningococcal disease. Sadly, Robert passed away only 21 hours after his first symptom. It was not until after Robert’s death that Jeri learned vaccination could potentially have saved her son’s life. Robert once told Jeri, “There are talkers in life, and there are doers. The talkers just talk and never accomplish anything. But the doers get stuff done. Let’s start a revolution of doers, Mom.” With this in mind, Jeri has made it her mission to educate others about the disease and its prevention.

“I pray that by educating others I can save as many lives as possible, in Robert’s memory,” said Jeri. “I’m not going to let anyone forget.”