NMA Advocates in North Carolina

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Cora Harrison

North Carolina

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

Julia Harrison

Cora Harrison’s daughter, Julia, was a sophomore at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, when her life was tragically cut short by meningococcal disease. During her fall semester in 2001, Julia visited the student health center suffering from an intense headache. In the middle of the night, she called her parents to tell them she had been vomiting and could barely walk. Feeling her daughter sounded disoriented, Cora called 911 and had Julia transported to a nearby hospital. Julia died only three hours later. Cora and her husband, Paul, were shocked to hear that Julia died as a result of meningococcal disease, since Julia had been vaccinated against the disease a few years earlier. The Harrison’s didn’t realize that it was important to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease, because even with vaccination some people may contract the disease.

Melanie Wheaton

North Carolina

T.E.A.M. Member (sister of Lindsay age 18)

Melanie’s sister, Lindsay, loved the outdoors and was the youngest of four siblings. She was 18 years old when she lost her life to meningococcal disease. After complaining of a headache before bed one evening, Lindsay became feverish and her condition worsened. Her mother Debbie called 911 the next afternoon noticing that Lindsay was lethargic and had a rash on her legs. Melanie was out of state when her parents called to say Lindsay had just been hospitalized with meningitis. After speaking with the ER physician, Melanie understood the severity of the situation. In shock, she drove seven hours to New York through the night in “white-out” conditions to be by her sister’s side. Melanie arrived just before sunrise to find Lindsay on a ventilator in the ICU, her body swollen and bruised. Lindsay passed away later that morning.

Melanie is committed to spreading awareness of meningitis signs, symptoms and prevention in memory of her sister. She successfully advocated for the passage of a bill in her home state of New York to require colleges and camps to distribute information about meningitis prevention. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children.