Meningitis Survivor Tells Her Story, Huge Supporter of New Vaccine Requirement for College Students

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 9:22am

"Within hours you're either dead or a survivor," says mother Patsy Schanbaum.

Schanbaum can call her daughter a survivor, but it was a long hard fight to get her to that point after a brutal battle with meningitis.

In 2008, Jamie, a sophomore in college at the time, started feeling bad. Vomiting and weakness topped the list, but never did she think toxins were flowing through her blood stream. That bad feeling quickly worsened.

“And then I was losing strength in my steps and then by 10 'clock the next morning I was incapable of walking," describes 22 year old meningitis survivor Jamie Schanbaum.

The young twenty something woke up Wednesday for classes, and by Thursday, the next morning, was lying in a hospital bed as the disease began taking over the extremities of her body.

At that point her mother Patsy who was in Brownsville at the time, had not made it to the hospital yet. Her sister remained at the hospital with her in the meantime. Jamie recalls overhearing a conversation between her sister and her doctor.

"The doc looks at her and is like “Where's your mom?” and he looks back at her and says “She needs to be here," recalls Jamie.

She says that's when she knew something was really wrong.

For the next seven months Jamie would remain hospitalized and undergo several amputations of her fingers and parts of her legs.

While the ordeal is described by Jamie as an extremely horrible one, she's moved past it and is looking forward. She's back in school, is an accomplished cyclist and most importantly an advocate for the newly required meningitis vaccine of college students. She and her mom were instrumental in getting the legislation passed here in Texas. It requires that all college students under the age of 30 get the vaccine by January of 2012.

'I think it's important to spread my story, a lot of people like me didn't know it could have been prevented," says Jamie.

For more information on Jamie’s story and the new vaccine requirement for college students follow the links below:



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