NMA Advocates

NMA has 111 advocates across the country, and 38 video stories.

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Jess Wolf


M.O.M. of Addy (survived age 6 months)

Aydia “Addy”, a bubbly, smiling little girl and best friend to her twin brother, Caydren, woke up crying one morning. Addy had a high fever and was acting strangely. She began vomiting. She was rushed to the ER where staff gave her antibiotics after noticing a purple spot and eventually moved her into the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). On her way to the PICU, Addy went into respiratory failure. She was diagnosed with meningococcemia.

Addy stayed on a ventilator for more than a week. Slowly, the swelling in her body subsided. She spent a total of 22 days in the hospital. Addy had partial amputations on her fingers but survived without any other major lasting side effects. Six months later, Addy celebrated her first birthday with her brother. Although a vaccine is available for children as young as two months of age, Addy had serogroup B meningococcal disease, which is not covered by that vaccine. Jess and Tammy are incredibly thankful for their daughter’s survival and work with NMA to educate other parents about prevention.


Patti Wukovits

New York

M.O.M. of Kimberly (age 17 years)

Kim Coffey

One afternoon in 2012, Patti’s daughter Kimberly, a high school senior, alerted Patti that she was feeling feverish and achy. Kim’s doctor thought she had the flu and asked them to come in the next day. By morning, Kim had a rash on her ankle. She was rushed from the doctor to the ER, but her organs were already failing. Nine days later, Patti and her husband John had to say goodbye. Kim passed away just one week before her senior prom and graduation.

Kim was vaccinated. While vaccines available at the time covered most strains of the disease, they did not cover serogroup B meningococcal disease, which is what Kim had. Patti is grateful that there is now a vaccine available to protect against serogroup B and hopes it will be used broadly. She works with NMA to educate others about meningitis symptoms and prevention.


Sue Burd

New Jersey

M.O.M. of Jeff (age 16 years)

Jeff Burd

Sue Burd’s son, Jeff, was a motivated high school student and avid hockey player when his life was suddenly cut short due to meningococcal disease. Jeff was feeling a little run down but thought he just had the same cold many of his family members were experiencing. However, three days later, Jeff’s temperature skyrocketed to 104 degrees and he complained of feeling weak and uncomfortable. Later that afternoon, Jeff suffered a seizure. Sue called 911 and within five minutes of arriving at the hospital, doctors confirmed he had meningitis. Despite the rapid diagnosis, Jeff lost his battle with meningococcal disease.

“Many people do not realize how dangerous and deadly meningococcal disease is until it hits them, and its devastating impact is indescribable,” Sue said. “Through our awareness efforts, we hope to save other families from experiencing the heartbreak we felt due to meningitis.”

Jeff Burd’s sister, Sara Burd, is a T.E.A.M. member.