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A Family's Reaction to Meningococcal B Vaccination Becoming Available in the United States While Too Late for Their Daughter


West Bloomfield, MI -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/18/2014 --Alicia Stillman began her day on October 29th like so many other days since having lost her daughter, Emily in February 2013. She was determined to keep making a difference in Emily’s honor. October 29th turned out to be a break through day. The Food and Drug Administration announced they had approved a vaccine for a dangerous strain of meningitis that caused Emily to pass away and the dangerous outbreaks last year on the Princeton and Santa Barbara College campuses. The news of approval came as bitter sweet. Alicia Stillman, stated “Now the work of The Emily Foundation can really begin.” Like any mother she fought back tears, saying it was too late for her Emily.

The Stillman family not waiting around for this day to happen for fear it would be to slow, created The Emily Stillman Foundation to preserve the memory of Emily Nicole Stillman and to assist in raising funds for both Meningococcal Disease and Organ Donation. Early in October the foundation was granted the 501c(3) status. “Our goal is to create a world where there is no “wait list” for organ donation, and where meningitis is eradicated.” The Emily Stillman Foundation is a non-profit organization with 100% of all proceeds go directly towards the mission.

Emily was a 19 year old sophomore at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In February, 2013, she passed away within 36 hours of the onset of a headache from the B strain of Meningococcal Disease.

Alicia and Michael Stillman have found a second calling to speak on Organ Donation. That day when faced in their darkest hour Michael and Alicia gave the gift of life and now want to make others aware of how precious that message is and how that choice will change many people’s lives.

The Stillman family has authorized The Gift of Life organization to let all those who received Emily’s organs they are interested in talking with them. Both parties must agree to this exchange. At this time Alicia and Michael have heard from all five and have a strong family bond with those families that have been in contact with them.

The Emily Stillman Foundation has had a twofold mission. Never would Alicia and Michael have thought they would be knocking on the doors of the CDC, the FDA and Congresses doors to get a vaccination, but that is what they did along with figuring out how to get people vaccinated. For the past six months, Alicia and Michael Stillman have been taking groups of people across the border to Windsor, Canada, where the vaccine, Bexsero Meningococcal B (Men B) is approved. The vaccine requires two doses.

The vaccine, which is produced by Novartis, is the same vaccine that the CDC and the FDA, issued a "compassionate release, providing the students and staff on the Princeton and UCSB campuses. It is the vaccine that all incoming freshmen were offered at Princeton this fall. It is also the vaccine that has been approved for use in the UK, as well as Canada.

The FDA’s announcement was made that Pfizer who had been in a race with the Swiss drug maker Novartis won approval in the United States of a vaccine for serogroup B meningitis. The vaccine, which is made by Pfizer and is to be called Trumenba, is aimed at preventing a variety of bacterial meningitis known as serogroup B. Because the bacteria spread through close physical contact like coughing, kissing and sharing eating utensils, outbreaks have occurred on college campuses and other places where people live in close quarters.

Trumenba is approved for people between the ages of 10 and 25 and will be administered in a three-dose series. Whether school-age students will someday be required to be vaccinated against serogroup B meningitis has not yet been decided. The C.D.C., not the F.D.A., is charged with making recommendations about vaccine use. The Stillman family have seen first-hand how this horrible disease can effect and kill a person at any age and will hope the CDC will look very strongly at expanding the age requirements.

The Stillman family is happy with the FDA making this decision, but know their work continues in making sure everyone gets vaccinated and assisting those who cannot afford this have access.

The Emily Stillman Foundation will hold “A Night of Laughs” fundraiser April 14, 2015. Alicia knows that she gets her strength because she made Emily a promise as she said good-by that she will make sure this doesn’t happen again. “Emily had a dream of being on Saturday Night Live and honoring her with “A Night of Laughs” seemed fitting,” stated Stillman. A Second City Troupe will perform after a strolling dinner at The Berman Center for the Performing Arts in West Bloomfield, MI. Sponsorships, tickets and ad journal opportunities are all available. The monies raised will continue the efforts to raise awareness for organ/tissue donation and for meningitis. “In addition, we will continue with our vaccination clinics into areas that cannot afford these important vaccinations, and grant assistance to families affected by either of our two causes,” shared Stillman

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