Melanie’s sister, Lindsay, loved the outdoors and was the youngest of four siblings. She was 18 years old when she lost her life to meningococcal disease. After complaining of a headache before bed one evening, Lindsay became feverish and her condition worsened. Her mother Debbie called 911 the next afternoon noticing that Lindsay was lethargic and had a rash on her legs. Melanie was out of state when her parents called to say Lindsay had just been hospitalized with meningitis. After speaking with the ER physician, Melanie understood the severity of the situation. In shock, she drove seven hours to New York through the night in “white-out” conditions to be by her sister’s side. Melanie arrived just before sunrise to find Lindsay on a ventilator in the ICU, her body swollen and bruised. Lindsay passed away later that morning.
Melanie is committed to spreading awareness of meningitis signs, symptoms and prevention in memory of her sister. She successfully advocated for the passage of a bill in her home state of New York to require colleges and camps to distribute information about meningitis prevention. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children.