NMA Advocates in New York

To view other advocates, use the search form to the left or return to select a different state.

Page 2 of 212

Heather Tufano

New York

T.E.A.M. member (survived at age 18 years)

Heather Tufano was an 18 year old freshman attending college in New York City when she contracted Meningococcemia. Her symptoms began at 11 o’clock at night with fever, chills and pain in her joints, so extreme that she could not walk. By early the next morning a black and blue rash spread quickly all over her legs. She was immediately brought to the intensive care unit at a local hospital to find out she had a 5% chance of living that night.

Heather was in the hospital for 3 months and underwent roughly 8 surgeries, including the amputation of her right foot and 2 fingers. Once she left the hospital, Heather had to learn how to walk again by going to physical therapy for several months. Since she left the hospital in January of 2005, Heather returned to school and has now graduated college. She joined NMA to educate and create awareness about the signs and symptoms of Meningococcal disease.


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.

Page 2 of 212