Archive | January, 2015

The Right Thing to Do

26 Jan

All of the advocates featured in our new PSA (learn more about Patti, Jan and the Boyles) have been affected by serogroup B meningococcal disease. They are not alone. Serogroup B accounts for about one-third of all meningococcal disease cases in the U.S., and, like the other strains, it can result in brain damage, hearing loss, kidney failure, limb amputations or even death.

I have heard over and over from parents that they thought their children were fully protected because they were vaccinated with the currently recommended vaccine, which protects against four major strains of meningococcal disease, but does not protect against serogroup B. Thankfully, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved two vaccines for the prevention of serogroup B meningococcal disease in individuals ages 10 to 25. Previously, there had been no approved serogroup B vaccines in the U.S.

Now that we have the tools to fully protect our children:

  • We encourage policymakers to recommend these vaccines for adolescents who are at high risk for infection.
  • We urge parents to vaccinate their children on schedule with the currently recommended meningococcal vaccine and talk to their child’s healthcare provider about getting them the vaccination against serogroup B.
  • We ask you to help us by sharing this public service video through your social media networks and to encourage everyone you know to do the same.

Let’s work together to protect our children from all serogroups of meningococcal disease. It’s the right thing to do.

Running to Honor Those We’ve Lost to Meningitis

14 Jan

“January 1st marked the 10 year anniversary of my battle and survival of bacterial meningitis (meningococcal). My heart and brain were the only two organs that didn’t fail that day. But my heart still breaks every time I see another unvaccinated adolescent or young adult taken in the prime of their lives, unprotected for the battle of a lifetime.”—T.E.A.M. Member Mike LaForgia

Mike is an NMA T.E.A.M. member, meningococcal disease survivor, and avid runner who has completed four marathons, including two as a double amputee.

Mike’s amputations were the result of contracting meningococcal disease at age 39. The infection came on suddenly as he, his wife and his three children were celebrating the 2004 New Year. Mike survived, but lost his right leg below the knee and part of his left foot. He spent two months in the hospital and five months in rehabilitation.

Despite these obstacles, Mike returned to running competitively, only now he runs to raise awareness in honor of those who lost their lives to meningococcal disease. “Through my work with NMA, I’ve met many other families who have been affected by meningococcal disease as well as parents who have lost their children because of it,” says Mike. “Meningococcal disease changed my life, and it’s important to me to honor those who haven’t survived. As a father of three teenagers, an age group that is at higher risk for infection, I encourage parents to speak to their teen’s doctors about routine vaccination against serogroups A, C, W and Y and the newly approved vaccine for serogroup B.”

Mike is now training hard for the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay, which will take place February 6 to 7. He and 11 other team members will each run about 18 miles to cover the distance from Miami to Key West. During this race, as he has before, Mike will be wearing a shirt bearing the names some of the loved ones we’ve lost to this terrible disease.

Help us cheer Mike on by supporting his mission: watch his story, share what you’ve learned and get your children vaccinated. If you would also like to support him with a donation, you can do so here.