I Am Only One, But Still I Am One
Aug 09, 2011

Shot of Prevention will be highlighting various vaccine advocates in guest posts this week.  We would like to thank Frankie Milley, Founder and National Executive Director of Meningitis Angels, for submitting this post in honor of National Immunization Month.

Meningitis survivor Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

August is National Immunization Month in America and I am once again drawn back to a time when my fellow elementary classmates were lined up in the school gym or cafeteria and given our shots or our sugar cube with the polio vaccine. I think back to a time before there were ACIP recommendations and/or mandates for middle school entry for adolescents for varicella, Tdap, meningitis, HPV and other life saving vaccines.
Mostly, I am drawn back to a time when my only child Ryan died from meningococcal meningitis long before these recommendations. Thus began my life long advocacy work to make sure all are protected from as many deadly, debilitating diseases as possible.
We have made great strides in protecting our children from deadly vaccine preventable diseases. The dedicated men and women of ACIP have worked hard to protect our kids. As organizations like Meningitis Angels, Every Child by Two, PKIDS, the Immunization Action Coalition, public heath departments and various others partner to ensure people are educated on, and protected from, deadly diseases, we find our work must not only continue, but strengthen.
We are at a great point in history. We are on the cusp of new vaccines to prevent meningococcal disease in infants. We must once again all stand together and make sure that at the end of the day, vaccines are made accessible to the smallest and weakest of our communities. We must stop this deadly disease that takes infant lives or leaves them debilitated. We must work for stronger education, recommendations, accessibility and continue to research and develop new and better vaccines to stop disease – not only in America but around the world.
As parents shop for those back to school clothes to make their children look good, or those school supplies to help them learn, I pray they will also make the most important preparation – the one that will protect them from deadly diseases.  I pray that they will make sure their children are vaccinated.
I also want to take a moment to thank and congratulate Ms. Rosalynn Carter, Ms. Betty  Bumpers and all of those at Every Child By Two for being leaders in this fight to save lives for over 20 years. You – Ms. Rosalyn and Ms. Bumpers – are heroes.  You wear big shoes for us to fill over the next 20 years.

I say, if infants and children had a choice and a voice they would choose vaccination over illness and death. However they don’t, so we have to be that voice.
The voice of science, fact, reason and protection of life and health. Vaccinate!!

Frankie Milley is not only the Founder and National Executive Director of Meningitis Angels, she is also the mother to an only child Ryan, who died at age 18 from meningococcal meningitis/sepsis.   She speaks often of the importance of vaccines and encourages parents to educate themselves about meningitis, and the vaccines that are available to prevent this deadly and debilitating disease.   She suggests  parents learn more by visiting the following sites:
Infants are at risk too. Please visit Protect Infants Now to learn more. 
Check out what the AAP have to say regarding Sound Advice on Vaccines.
Be sure to join Frankie’s Facebook Cause.

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2 responses to “I Am Only One, But Still I Am One”

  1. Chelsea says:

    Frankie’s story goes from heartbreaking (with the loss of her son) to inspiring (with her advocacy work). I admire the work you do, Frankie!

  2. onevenna says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. It’s always heart breaking to hear about anyone losing a child but it’s inspiring when you turn the tragedy around and make it a good fight to help others. Keep it up, you have my support!

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