In spring 2008, Chris’ daughter, Caitlin, was a healthy college freshman. One day, as she was commuting to her part-time job, she vomited on the side of the road and returned home. Chris left church to care for her and gave her anti-nausea medicine. That evening, Caitlin’s temperature rose to 104 degrees.
Several hours later, Caitlin developed a purple rash on her stomach and arms and Chris rushed her to the ER. Chris spent the night by her side. The next day, doctors confirmed Caitlin had bacterial meningitis.
Caitlin spent three weeks in the hospital. After her release, she was in a wheelchair and on kidney dialysis. With the help of a physical therapist, she learned to walk again. Caitlin continues to receive kidney dialysis and lives with long-term complications including short-term memory loss and anemia. Despite these complications, six years after her diagnosis, Caitlin graduated from college.
Caitlin wasn’t vaccinated because her college did not require vaccination before entry. Chris now works with NMA to educate others about meningitis symptoms and prevention.