He Would Have Been 33 Today
Sep 20, 2012

I received this email today from a friend and fellow vaccine advocate.  Her name is Frankie Milley and her personal story has inspired her public mission for many years.  I share it with everyone today in honor of her, her son Ryan and all the families that have been touched by a vaccine preventable disease.
Frankie writes:
Today is a bitter sweet day.  I am speaking before a group of people in California, attending influenza vaccination kick off and working on a documentary with some very cool people about the importance of preventing disease through vaccinations. Today on what would have been Ryan’s 33rd birthday through tears, smiles, gratitude and humility, I share the attached which  is being read into the US Congressional record today.

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD

House of Representatives

WASHINGTON D.C. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012

 The Honorable Kevin Brady

Honoring Victims of Bacterial Meningitis

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remember Ryan Milley, a young man from Conroe, Texas who was born on September 20, 1979. In 1998, 18-year old Ryan lost his life to meningococcal meningitis.

As a result of Ryan’s death his family founded Meningitis Angels, a national nonprofit organization that educates the public, health professionals, child care facilities, schools and universities on not only meningitis but other vaccine preventable diseases though personal stories, educational brochures, posters and videos.
Meningitis Angels is dedicated to the support of victims of bacterial meningitis and their families. While helping families cope with the loss or care of a family member they also offer some hands on support for those children affected with bacterial meningitis.
Sadly, Meningitis Angels continues to grow. Meningitis Angels currently represents over 600 families across the U.S. and abroad.
Mr. Speaker, I cannot do justice to these families without speaking about this terrible and preventable disease.
Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
It is a deadly, debilitating disease that especially affects infants, children, teenagers, young adults, and those with compromised immune systems.
People who have bacterial meningitis may have long-term complications and disabilities like permanent brain damage and long-term physical problems such as heart, kidney, or intestinal problems or could require amputations of the arms, legs and facial features. Infants and teens are highest risk for this disease.
The most effective way to protect your child against bacterial meningitis is to complete the recommended vaccine schedule. In many states, these vaccines are required for children in school and daycare.
The families of Meningitis Angels can tell you that these requirements are not frivolous or busy work.
So on their behalf, I ask that American families get vaccinated to prevent more tragedies.
I have offered H. Res. 403 to honor Ryan Wayne Milley, his remarkable mom Frankie, and all Meningitis Angels across the United States. Today is appropriate day to remember Ryan and to support efforts to end the disease that took his life.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back.
I ‘ve had the pleasure of knowing Frankie for several years now.  However, just today I discovered this video in which she provides the details of Ryan’s death.  It is an extremely difficult story to hear. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to experience. 
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RsEl4qzAR_o#!]
Frankie works hard in hopes that parents everywhere will do what they can to protect their children from vaccine preventable diseases. Visit the Meningitis Angels website so you can get the facts, know the symptoms and hear the stories about meningitis.  Then take action and ensure your child is vaccinated.   


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