M.O.M. of Rhett (age 20 years)
Susan’s son, Rhett was a witty, fun-loving and intelligent college student who tragically lost his life in November 2006 to meningococcal disease, a serious, yet vaccine-preventable bacterial infection. Rhett had come home for Thanksgiving break to spend time with his family. Rhett returned to school on Monday to take his finals and to go on a scheduled snowboarding trip with friends before Christmas. However, after returning to school Rhett became ill with flu-like symptoms. Three days later, on a Thursday, Rhett passed away alone in his college apartment. The autopsy revealed Rhett had died from acute bacterial meningitis.
“This is a tragedy that could have been prevented. A mother can’t protect her child from everything but you can prevent against bacterial meningitis. It is important to be educated about the symptoms of meningococcal disease and have your children vaccinated.” – Susan Davis
Rhett’s sister, Patricia Reilly, is a T.E.A.M. member.
Terri Martin Finethy
M.O.M. of Alan (age 21 years)
Terri Martin never suspected such a rare, yet potentially fatal, infection could strike her 21-year-old son Alan, an identical twin and talented musician. After being on the road for five weeks with his band, Alan went to the emergency room in Tallahassee with a fever, headache and chills. Alan was examined by a nurse and sent home with a suspected case of bronchitis. Later that evening, Alan returned to the E.R. with intense pain and a purple rash that was spreading quickly across his torso. Sadly, Alan died of meningococcal disease only hours after Terri arrived at the hospital. Although she had heard of the infection, Terri was not aware that it could have been potentially prevented through vaccination.
M.O.M. of Lawson (age 18 years)
Cathy’s daughter Lawson was a vibrant 18-year-old. After a day of horseback riding, she went to bed early with a headache. Cathy assumed she was overly tired, but later became concerned because Lawson was very sluggish. Cathy took Lawson to the hospital. Though she did not have a fever or rash, Lawson became increasingly lethargic and sensitive to light. Doctors ordered a spinal tap which confirmed meningitis. Despite treatment, Lawson passed away from what Cathy later learned was pneumococcal meningitis.
Cathy works with NMA to raise awareness about the dangers and prevention of bacterial meningitis. She feels it’s critical for communities to know about the symptoms of all types of bacterial meningitis and wants to help educate others about recommended meningococcal vaccinations which can prevent the majority of bacterial meningitis cases in adolescents.
T.E.A.M member (survived at age 29 years)