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Do You Know The Effects of Meningitis? This Advocacy Group Wants To Make Sure You Do.

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Ryan Wayne Milley went from perfect health to a painful death in fewer than 14 hours when he was 18 years old. The culprit was meningitis.

Since his death in 1998, Ryan’s mother has dedicated her life advocating for vaccinations, education and awareness that can prevent the disease. Her name is Frankie Milley, and she’s the founder of Meningitis Angels, a group of people who have seen the affects of meningitis and hope to see it prevented.

“It was either crawl in the grave with him, which is what I wanted to do, or get busy and try to prevent it,” Milley said.

Last week, the Meningitis Angels traveled to five universities in Utah to make students aware of the risks of meningitis.

Although meningitis is rare, it can become deadly very quickly. The disease can cause painful rashes, sudden high fevers, seizures, nausea and vomiting, confusion and ultimately death.

“The best thing we can do is get vaccinated,” Milley said. “Because this disease is debilitating, and what it doesn’t debilitate or mutilate, it kills.”

Milley and the Meningitis Angels have advocated for and ultimately succeeded in bringing about 42 vaccination laws around the country, most recently in New York. Now, she has her eyes set on Utah. Utah is 1 of 12 states that doesn’t require high school-aged children to receive meningitis shots.

“Right now the state of Utah has requirements for middle school entry for mens C4, but I’m hoping within the next year we can actually get the law expanded to include middle school entry and high school exit for mensC4 and menB, and that way anyone that’s graduating high school will be immunized,” Milley said.

The Meningitis Angels have teamed up with Utah State University’s pre-med club to help spread awareness about the vaccination. The club hopes universities around the state will follow its example and help spread important vaccination information that may prevent young people from contracting the disease.