Meredith’s son, Henry, was a bright, active junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying economics and creative writing. He also played lead guitar and wrote songs for his hometown band. One Saturday night, Henry went to the ER with a fever. The doctors ruled out pneumonia and sent him home. The next day, he could not speak clearly and the right side of his body was numb. He returned to the hospital. By the time Meredith arrived, Henry was diagnosed with meningitis and in a coma from which he never woke up. After they were told there was no sign of brain activity, his family and friends gathered in his hospital room to say goodbye.
Henry was vaccinated and had received a booster shot. Unfortunately, while vaccines available at the time covered most strains of the disease, they did not cover serogroup B disease, which was what Henry had. Currently available vaccines protect against all five major strains, including serogroup B. Meredith is now dedicated to increasing awareness of meningococcal disease and its symptoms, as well as the importance of vaccination among parents and young adults everywhere.