In 2013, Emily Stillman was a 19-year-old Sophmore at Kalamazoo College when she contracted Meningitis B, and passed away just hours later. Now Emily’s mother, Alicia Stillman, is fighting to avoid this from happening in the future.
Alicia Stillman has since created the Emily Stillman Foundation to raise awareness of the dangerous risks of Meningitis B. A vaccine has since been created since Emily’s death, but Stillman wants it to be a requirement for all college students.
“There was no vaccine for Meningitis B when Emily contracted the disease, but there is now,” says Stillman in a press release. “Making the immunization a requirement for students on campuses across Michigan will save lives and prevent the kind of heartache my family has experienced every day.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services sent out a letter in August to every college and university in the state asking them to change their immunization policies when it comes to Meningitis B and other diseases that can be avoided by getting a vaccine.
Meningitis B is the only type of meningitis not included in the common meningitis vaccine given to children and teens across the United States. There are different groups of meningitis, but the vaccine commonly given only protects against four groups. College students are the most at risk because of their communal living situations.
The symptoms of meningitis can include feeling poor, fever, nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, stiff neck, joint pain, mental changes, sensitivity to light or a red or purple rash in which color doesn’t fade when pressure is applied to the skin.