Days before she was scheduled to start basic training for the U.S. Army, Abby woke up with body aches, which she attributed to her new exercise routine. Later that night, while out with friends, she had a slight headache but it wasn’t until she began vomiting that she knew something was wrong. The next morning, Abby felt a searing pain when a friend touched her arm to wake her up and noticed a rash all over her stomach. She was rushed to the ER.
By the time Abby reached the hospital, she could no longer walk on her own. She was immediately diagnosed with meningococcemia and treated with antibiotics. Abby’s kidneys failed, she went into respiratory arrest and spent two and a half weeks in a coma. She survived but both of her legs and some of her fingers were amputated.
Abby was not vaccinated, but was scheduled to get vaccinated at basic training. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health and educates others about meningococcal disease and the importance of prevention.
“Sadly, at the time I got sick the vaccine was not recommended for my age group,” says Abby. “Now there are effective vaccines against meningococcal disease. Please get your family vaccinated!”