Amy had a promising career as a massage therapist ahead of her and was active in snowboarding and other outdoor activities when she contracted a serious bacterial infection called meningococcal disease. Amy was a healthy active teenager and never thought she would come so close to losing her life due to a potentially vaccine-preventable disease.
One day during the summer of 1999, at age 19, Amy called her mother to tell her she wasn’t feeling well; she had a stiff neck and felt extremely tired. Later that day, Amy began vomiting and became so ill that she had to be rushed to the emergency room by her cousin.
When Amy arrived at the hospital, her condition deteriorated quickly and was soon fighting for her life. Following a blood culture, the doctors diagnosed Amy with meningococcemia, a form of meningococcal disease the causes poisoning of the blood system. Amy’s organs began to fail and doctors put her into a medically-induced coma to help her body fight the infection.
Amy’s condition slowly began to improve, but she had a long road to recovery ahead of her. She suffered from severe gangrene in her legs and feet and doctors had to amputate both of her legs below the knee. She also lost hearing in her left ear. Finally, the infection caused major organ damage and as a result, she had her kidney and spleen removed. Nearly two years later, Amy received a kidney transplant from her father.