Prayers of Thanksgiving To Those Fighting to Protect Our Children
Nov 23, 2011

I woke up this morning, admittedly cranky.  I didn’t sleep well and I’ve had a lot on my mind.  To add to my misery, I’ve gone a week without a dishwasher, and unfortunately the pile of dishes in the sink never seems to disappear.  My biggest complaint today was that I was going to have to accept that the dishwasher part would not arrive in time for “the big day”.  Therefore, I am destined to prepare an elaborate Thanksgiving meal for my family without the assitance of my go-to appliance.
I was still annoyed when I sat down at my computer and began reading my morning emails.  I came across this email from a colleague.  Someone who knows what it’s like to live with longing.  A reliable person who has become the go-to person for many families who have suffered the loss of a child.  A vaccine advocate who works tirelessly to ensure that we do everything possible to protect children from vaccine preventable diseases.
In just a few short paragraphs, she put my Thanksgiving preparations in perspective.  There is plenty to be thankful for.  But today I am especially thankful for all the people I’ve come to know through my work here on Shot of Prevention.  I couldn’t begin to name them all, but they are the moms, dads, bloggers, healthcare professionals, scientists and public health specialists who work so hard hoping to spare others from the suffering they’ve come to know from vaccine preventable diseases.
I hope you will read this guest post from Frankie Milley  and take a moment to reflect on all the blessings in your life.

‘Tis the Season,  by Frankie Milley

Tis the season…. Today is my husband’s birthday. Sixty one of them he has had now. We were married 38 years ago and thought, by this time, we would have some beautiful grandchildren and they would be here with us, along with our precious son Ryan and his wife, to celebrate this day, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas. However, vaccine preventable meningococcal meningitis took that away from us. 
I started this day off like every other reading about meningitis around the world.  I leave my comments on various articles and hope that if one person reads them and becomes educated, then one life might be saved or spared.  They may not come to know the tragedy of this nightmare I am living.
Today my heart is breaking.
The news is out. A seventh grade child in Boston has died, while an elementary student in Indiana and two college students in Pennsylvania are hospitalized.  The rush is on to administer antibiotics to all those who have come in contact with the victims.  I am always amazed at that!  We stop to think, “Where did the victim come in contact with the bacteria?”  However, it’s time we stop with the “after-the-fact” treatment, and start with the “before-the-fact” prevention.
This vaccine preventable disease does not stop at the dorm room door. It does not discriminate as to race or social economic status. It comes out of no where, like a tornado in the night, leaving death and destruction in its path. The victims?  All the youngest and most vulnerable of humans.
So, as I prepare a birthday cake, a special dinner, and food for a Thanksgiving meal at my sister’s house, I’m once again reminded of what – and who – is no longer with us. I am reminded that each day is filled with grief and loneliness.  And sometimes anger.  And always frustration.
Each day, I fight, advocate and educate.  But kids are still mutilated and dying from this vaccine preventable form of meningitis. How may tears must we cry, and how many must die, before they listen?
This Christmas, give your children – from the youngest to the oldest – the gift of life and health. Make sure they’re vaccinated against all the diseases that can kill or debilitate them. Take time to say a prayer for those of us who have lost our children, and for those who care for those who have fallen victim to deadly preventable disease.  Give prayers of Thanksgiving for all of us who dedicate our lives – in the trenches – to fight to protect your kids. We are strong. We are bound together.  We are (just to name a few) Every Child By Two, Families Fighting Flu, PKIDS, the Immunization Action Coalition, state and local health departments and immunization coalitions and (the closest to my heart and extension of Ryan) my Angels…my Meningitis Angels.
Ok.  Grab a tissue.  Wipe my eyes.  Deep breath.  Put a smile on my face to hide the pain of my broken heart and batter up..(as in birthday cake mix).
Blessing to All, Frankie

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