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My sister, Laura, was a freshman at the University of Vermont when she contracted meningitis. She was away at school for just a few weeks. She hadn’t been feeling well, and we all thought she was coming down with the flu. I was a senior in college when I got the phone call on an early Friday morning that Laura was very sick and that they were getting on the first flight up to Burlington to see what was going on. Of course I went with them. When we got to the hospital she was in a coma. She was receiving a lot of antibiotics but they weren’t working. Her internal organs shut down one by one.

When her heart started to fail the doctors tried a pacemaker but by then it was too late. Laura died on Saturday, October 11, 1986. She was 18 years old. Our family and her friends were devastated by her death and still are. She was a vibrant and beautiful young woman who was full of life and had everything to live for. We all miss her terribly and hope that this terrible disease will one day eradicated. Thank you for letting me share my story.