One day during Caitlin’s freshmen year at Middle Tennessee State University, she was commuting to her part-time job when she began vomiting and returned home. That evening, her temperature rose to 104 degrees. When she developed a purple rash on her stomach and arms, her mother rushed her to the ER. The next day, doctors confirmed she had bacterial meningitis.
Caitlin spent three weeks in the hospital. After her release, she was in a wheelchair and on kidney dialysis. With the help of a physical therapist, she learned to walk again. Caitlin continues to receive kidney dialysis and lives with long-term complications including short-term memory loss and anemia. Despite these complications, six years after her diagnosis, Caitlin graduated from college.
Caitlin wasn’t vaccinated and her college did not require vaccination before entry. She is now dedicated to raising awareness of meningococcal disease and its prevention.