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Thursday April 24, 2014

I Am a Meningitis Survivor and This Is My Story

April 24, 2014 – World Meningitis Day

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I returned home late last night from Florida where I was involved in a Satellite Media Event.  SMT’s are opportunities for me to sit in one room, do interviews and be picked up by TV/radio markets all across the country. My purpose is to spread awareness on meningitis and that it is a vaccine-preventable disease.  My name is Jamie Schanbaum, I am 25 years old, a student at the University of Texas (graduating in May- woohoo!!) and a meningitis survivor.

In November 2008, while I was in my second year at UT Austin, I was stricken with meningococcal meningitis.  Within 14 hours I went from a perfectly healthy college student – to having to spend the next 7 months in a hospital – to watching my limbs turn from pink, to brown, to black and to ultimately having all my fingers as well as both legs below the knee be amputated. It all happened so fast.  This is just a brief look into the story of my life, but there are so many more unfortunate stories.  I apologize for being so graphic, but it’s important that you understand the severity of this disease.

Meningitis often takes perfectly healthy, vibrant people to face amputation, severe health issues and often death –when there’s a vaccine to protect you from this horrible disease.  I would have taken the vaccine had I known it existed. I learned the hard way there is a vaccine, and there lies my purpose, my drive: I want to educate everyone.

This leads me back to World Meningitis Day and the wonderful opportunity I was given to be spread awareness, to educate and to share my knowledge about bacterial meningitis.  Yesterday I reached out on a national level, and today I’m reaching out on a global platform.  In February I was photographed by renowned photographer Anne Geddes in a campaign titled – Protecting our Tomorrow.  I and 14 other meningitis survivors from all over the world were photographed by Anne Geddes, and today the photos and iBook will be shared globally.  I hope everyone realizes this is a global issue – anyone, anywhere, anytime can be affected by this vaccine-preventable disease.

Please get vaccinated – Prevent What is Preventable.

Jamie Schanbaum – www.thejamiegroup.org

Anne Geddes is book – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/protecting-our-tomorrows/id843351185?ls=1&mt=11

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