Patsy and Jamie's Story
Patsy and Jamie, The J.A.M.I.E. Group, USA
In November 2008, my 20-year-old daughter, Jamie, almost lost her life to meningococcal disease.
Jamie was in hospital in Houston, Texas (USA) for over 6 months, where doctors amputated both of her legs below her knees and removed most of the fingers from both her hands.
Jamie recuperated and learned to walk on her prosthetics. She will face years of rehabilitation, but with the help of her family and friends, she endured her trials and surpassed all expectations. She hopes to once again partake in the activities she loves, such as scuba diving, volleyball and cycling. She has returned to school to continue her studies at The University of Texas.
While I was aware that a vaccine existed for meningococcal disease, I did not have Jamie vaccinated. I was not educated in the risks of the disease and doctors never discussed with me the importance of vaccination. To help prevent other families from experiencing this devastating disease, we joined the fight against meningitis.
Our family created The J.A.M.I.E. Group (Joint Advocacy for Meningococcal Information and Education), a non-profit organisation with a mission to help Jamie share her experience and knowledge and to inform and educate our community against meningitis.
The J.A.M.I.E. Group worked with The Immunization Partnership and the Williams family to make the Jamie Schanbaum/Nicolis Williams Act law in Texas in 2011, which now means that all new college students will be vaccinated against the disease.
Texas is the first and only state to mandate that students should be vaccinated against this preventable disease.
We are committed to lead the fight through education and community awareness and to advocate for increased information for students, parents, teachers and the medical profession. With your help, we can carry out this mission to secure a stronger and healthier community.
Patsy and Jamie set up The J.A.M.I.E. Group in Texas, USA.
To read another personal meningitis story from around the world, click here.