Child of a meningococcal disease victim | Georgia

When I was in the 1st grade my father, who was never sick woke up one morning feeling nauseated. He decided to go ahead into work in San Francisco. As the morning progressed, he got worse and was admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, as the afternoon turned to evening, he died. He was 31 years old, had never had a serious illness and just got sick and died all in one day. Needless to say we were all in shock, especially when we were told they were not sure what caused his death. We didn’t even have a chance to tell him goodbye. We returned home from the funeral to a Christmas tree with presents for our dad still under the tree. It was almost a week before we learned of the reason being Spinal Meningitis, something we had never heard of. During that week my mother had to make many life changing decisions to raise four young children as a single parent. That was over 42 years ago and there are still so many people who have never even heard of meningitis and what is even scarier is that people still die or become permanently disabled. The speed of this disease taking over your body is still today as it was in 1965, devastating. I feel as if there is no “getting a handle” on this once you have it. The day I heard immunizations were available, I thought to myself, “wonderful news” I would tell everyone, don’t wait till someone close to you experiences this disease, be proactive and get the vaccine.

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