John M. Becker

Help Me Protect the LGBT Community from Meningitis

Filed By John M. Becker | October 14, 2013 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bacterial meningitis, CDC, childhood immunization, federal government, herd immunity, Julian Siwek, LGBT families, meningitis outbreak, meningitis vaccine

Last week I wrote about bacterial meningitis, a deadly disease that broke out earlier this year in gay communities around the country and puts LGBT people -- and our children and families -- at risk.

julian_siwek.jpgI also wrote about the Change.org petition I started. The petition asks the Centers for Disease Control to add the bacterial meningitis vaccine to its list of recommended vaccines for infants and children, since that group has the highest infection rate for invasive meningococcal disease. Please click here to sign my petition.

I'm returning to this topic because I want to share with you the story of Julian Siwek, a queer trans man from Minnesota who contacted me after signing my petition. Julian contracted bacterial meningitis and it nearly took his life. He writes, "I would've been dead within 24 hours. Instead I lost all my fingers and most of my feet and spent months in the hospital, including a month-long coma."

Julian says that his harrowing battle with bacterial meningitis inspires him to advocate for the vaccine. He has this advice for parents who decline to vaccinate their children against it: "If your child gets the disease and you spend millions trying to save their life, and at the very best they lose important limbs, you'll think differently."

Adding the bacterial meningitis vaccine to the CDC list of recommended vaccines for infants and small children will help prevent others, including members of the LGBT community and their children, from enduring what Julian Siwek went through. Please stand with Julian and sign the petition today.

Photo via Facebook.


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