In 2009, Samantha was a healthy 17-year-old high school athlete when she woke up with flu-like symptoms and decided to stay home from school. Her father called to make an appointment with her doctor and the only available time left was 4:15 pm – the last one of the day.
By the time she arrived to the doctor’s office, she had developed a purple rash on her skin. Her doctor recognized it as a symptom of meningococcal disease and rushed her to the ER. They intubated her. She was placed in a medically-induced coma for six days while connected to 14 different machines that kept her alive.
Samantha spent another six days recovering in the hospital. When she was released, she had lost 14 pounds off her already fit frame.
Samantha spent the next two months at home recovering, and miraculously survived this disease with no residual physical effects. She had been vaccinated, but she contracted serogroup B. At the time, there was no vaccine available to protect against it. Now, there is. Samantha is dedicated to raising awareness about available vaccines to make sure teens and young adults are fully protected against this disease.