Mike LaForgia Runs Florida Keys Ragnar Relay to Honor Those We’ve Lost to Meningitis

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NMA T.E.A.M. member and meningococcal disease survivor, Mike LaForgia, is training hard for the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay, which will take place February 6 to 7. Mike and 11 other team members will each run about 18 miles to cover the distance from Miami to Key West.

Mike is an avid runner who has completed four marathons, two as a double amputee. Mike’s amputations were the result of contracting meningococcal disease at age 39. The infection came on suddenly as Mike, his wife and three children were celebrating the 2004 New Year. Within hours, Mike was hospitalized in critical condition and doctors told his family to say goodbye.

Mike survived, but lost his right leg below the knee and part of his left foot. He spent two months in the hospital and five months in rehabilitation. Despite these obstacles Mike, who was always an avid runner, returned to running competitively.

Mike is running the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay in honor of those who lost their lives to meningococcal disease. Please consider cheering Mike on and supporting NMA’s mission by making a donation.

“Through my work with NMA, I’ve met many other families who have been affected by meningococcal disease as well as parents who have lost their children because of it,” says Mike. “Meningococcal disease changed my life, and it’s important to me to honor those who haven’t survived. As a father of three teenagers, an age group that is at higher risk for infection, I encourage parents to speak to their teen’s doctors about routine vaccination against serogroups A, C, W and Y and the newly approved vaccine for serogroup B.”

When Mike isn’t training for the upcoming relay, he advocates in support of proposed New York legislation that would require parents to have their children vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

A donation in any amount, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Suggested amounts:

  • $1 per mile = $18
  • $2 per mile = $36
  • $5 per mile = $90
  • $10 per mile = $180
  • $20 per mile = $360

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Meningococcal disease is a serious, potentially fatal bacterial infection. Of those who get the disease, 10-15 percent will die and one in five survivors will live with serious complications such as amputations or organ damage. Vaccination against serogroups A, C, W and Y is recommended by health officials for all preteens and teens. Parents should also talk to their teen’s doctor about the newly approved vaccine for serogroup B. To learn more, click here.