M.O.M. of Jon (age 16 years)
Michele Davidson was not aware that her 16-year-old son, Jon, was at increased risk for contracting meningococcal disease. Jon was a junior in high school with a passion for basketball that he shared with his four older brothers when he lost his life to meningococcal disease. On August 1, 2005, Jon was feeling a little under the weather and was unable to play in his basketball game that evening. Later that night, Jon developed a fever and began vomiting. By the following morning Jon’s symptoms had become so severe, Michele and her husband rushed him to the hospital. Doctors suspected Jon had contracted bacterial meningitis and immediately gave him antibiotics. Unfortunately, Jon succumbed to the disease less than two hours later.
“Early symptoms of meningococcal disease can imitate other common illnesses, which is why vaccination is the most effective method of prevention,” said Michele.
M.O.M. and T.E.A.M Member (Gaitley survived at age 4 years)
Heidi Moody’s 4-year-old daughter, Gaitley, almost lost her life to meningococcal disease in 1997. It was New Year’s Eve, and Gaitley wasn’t feeling well. Heidi took her to the doctor who diagnosed her with an ear infection. Soon after returning home, Gaitley’s temperature rose to 106 degrees and she began vomiting and was weak and delusional. When a purplish rash developed on Gaitley’s body, Heidi rushed her to the hospital. Gaitley’s condition progressed and her organs began to fail. Doctors were able to save her, but had to amputate the toes on her left foot. Eight years later, doctors also had to amputate Gaitley’s left leg below the knee due to further complications. Despite ongoing health issues, Gaitley continues to partake in the activities she loves and plans to pursue a career in pediatric physical therapy.
“Parents need to be aware of meningococcal disease and speak with their health care providers about vaccination,” said Heidi. “This simple vaccine can potentially save your child’s life.”