NMA Advocates in Illinois

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Kaitie Mayberry Hauser


T.E.A.M. member (survived at age 20 years)

Kaitie (Mayberry) Hauser was a Freshman College Student at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA when she contracted meningococcal meningitis in 1996. She actually contracted the disease while on Spring break and staying at Arizona State University but presented a few days later while returning for the spring semester to her college in Allentown. Her symptoms started out like the flu…fever, migraine, vomiting, and a strange purple rash. The Doctors at the ER thought she had Toxic shock Syndrome or the Chicken Pox and they were going to send her back to the dorm. Had they done that, she would never have survived. Within 24 hours of symptom onset and a few hours after arriving at Sacred Heart Hospital, she was fighting for her life as her heart stopped and her organs shut down. She was placed in a medically induced a coma, was on a ventilator, and given her last rites. Her family was flown in from Illinois. She was given less than 1 % chance of survival.

Kaitie spent the next 11 days in the hospital, and miraculously survived this disease with no physical residual effects. Hauser finished college, and pursued her dreams of theatre by getting involved with several different theatre companies in Illinois on the stage and behind the scenes. She was married in the the Fall of 2008 and currently works in the insurance industry in marketing and client relations. Hauser was introduced to NMA in the summer of 2008, when a NMA MOM read a story about her that was printed in the local paper in Connecticut where she attended High School.

Barry Kessleman


T.E.A.M. member (survived at age 15 years)

In 1991, Barry was a high school sophomore who visited the school nurse one day after lunch. Feeling sick, he had his family take him home. Once home, he stayed in his room with what his doctor thought was Scarlet fever. When developed a purplish rash a few hours later, his parents rushed him to the hospital. Over the next week, Barry would be transferred to another hospital, suffer organ failure, and was told repeatedly that he may not survive. For two months more, he was treated in a burn victim unit after the disease caused tissue damage all over his body. When he was released from the hospital, Barry would receive physical and occupational therapy for half of a year, just to regain the ability to complete simple tasks such as walking or using a fork. Today, Barry lives with his wife and three daughters, and raises awareness of meningococcal disease and its prevention.

Doogie Mayberry


M.O.M. of Kaitie (survived at age 20 years)

Kaitie Mayberry Hauser

Doogie’s daughter, Kaitie, almost lost her life to a serious bacterial infection called meningococcal disease, when she was a freshman in college. Kaitie went to the emergency room with a migraine and was then admitted for what doctors suspected was a severe case of the flu. During the six hours it took the Mayberry’s to drive to the hospital, Kaitie’s condition worsened. Doctors placed Kaitie in a medically induced coma and told her parents she had a one percent chance of survival. Kaitie remained in the hospital for weeks before her condition began to improve. Doogie feels very fortunate that her daughter did not suffer long-term health consequences as the disease can lead to organ failure or limb amputations.

“Be aware that you can protect your children and your families from meningococcal disease,” said Doogie. “My family had to learn the hard way and now I want everyone to know that there is a vaccine available that can help prevent this devastating disease.”

Judy Miller


M.O.M. of Beth (age 19 years)

Beth Miller

Judy Miller’s daughter, Beth, was away at college when she was rushed to the hospital with classic symptoms of the flu. Doctors diagnosed Beth with meningococcal disease, a potentially fatal bacterial infection. One day later, Beth died from this potentially vaccine-preventable disease. Judy knew about the risks associated with meningitis for infants, but was unaware adolescents and college students are at increased risk.

Lisa Naumann


M.O.M. of Sarah (survived at age 1 year)

Sarah Amman

Lisa’s daughter, Sarah, was only 13-months-old when she suddenly got sick on March 29, 1996. Just after going to bed, Sarah developed a fever and began vomiting. The following morning small purple spots began to appear all over her body. Sarah’s doctor advised Lisa to take her to the hospital immediately. Doctors diagnosed Sarah with meningococcal disease and transferred her to another hospital. To save her life, the doctors had to amputate both of Sarah’s legs above her knees, part of her right arm, her nose, upper lip, and front palate. Sarah spent three months in the hospital recovering. As a result of the infection, Sarah also had permanent brain damage and experienced seizures. Since then, Sarah has undergone many additional surgeries and continues to require ongoing medical care. She’s happy to be enrolled in school now, where she spends time reading, singing, and socializing.

“I hope all parents will be vigilant and learn to recognize the symptoms of meningococcal disease,” says Lisa. “I tell every parent I know who has a child old enough for vaccination to take advantage of it.”

Blake Schuchardt


T.E.A.M. Member (survived at age 18 years)

One day during Blake’s senior year, he stayed home from school because he wasn’t feeling well. He woke up with a stiff neck and felt so weak that he could barely stand. When Blake developed a purple rash, his dad rushed him to the ER where doctors thought he had the flu. His condition quickly deteriorated and Blake was transferred to Vanderbilt Hospital. Blake awoke from a coma a week later to learn he had meningococcal disease and was suffering from severe complications. It was months before Blake could walk independently again and he was on dialysis until receiving a kidney transplant in 2006.

Blake is now a registered nurse who helps provide dialysis to people in their homes. He hopes to show others that they can have a life after serious illness. Blake is also dedicated to raising awareness of meningococcal disease and its prevention.