Grieving mother takes dozens of students to Canada to get them meningitis vaccine not approved for use in the U.S. that could have saved her daughter’s life

  • Emily Stillman, 19, contracted bacterial meningitis in fall of 2013 and died just hours after going to the hospital
  • There currently is no vaccine for the disease that's approved for use in the U.S.
  • Stillman's mother, Alicia, took a bus-load of students to Ontario, Canada, to get vaccinated
  • Last year, there was an outbreak of the deadly, highly contagious disease at several college campuses in the U.S.
  • Health officials in the U.S. are trying to get approval for a vaccine

By Daily Mail Reporter

The mother of a college sophomore who died last year from a rare case of bacterial meningitis honored her daughter's memory over the weekend by taking a group of young students to Canada to get the vaccine for the deadly disease.

Currently, the vaccine is not approved for use in the United States - had it been, Emily Stillman might still be alive.

Stillman, 19 at the time, was a sophomore at Kalamazoo College in Michigan when she called her mother to tell her she had a headache.

Tragedy: Emily Stillman (left) died last year after she caught a rare case of bacterial meningitis and her mom, Alicia (second from right) doesn't want it to happen to anyone else

Tragedy: Emily Stillman (left) died last year after she caught a rare case of bacterial meningitis and her mom, Alicia (second from right) doesn't want it to happen to anyone else

Action: Alicia Stillman started the Emily Stillman Foundation to spread awareness of the disease in honor of her daughter

Action: Alicia Stillman started the Emily Stillman Foundation to spread awareness of the disease in honor of her daughter

Less than 36 hours later, Stillman was dead, killed by the first case of bacterial meningitis at Kalamazoo College in at least 15 years.

'I told her, "It's okay. You can go,'" Alicia Stillman, Emily's mother, tells PEOPLE magazine. 'I'll be strong. I promise you, I will be your voice. This will not happen to other people.'

Recently, there have been outbreaks of the highly contagious disease at Princeton University and University of California at Santa Barbara - and there still is no vaccine approved for use in the United States.

Outbreak: Last year, there was an outbreak of the rare disease on a number of college campuses across the U.S.

Outbreak: Last year, there was an outbreak of the rare disease on a number of college campuses across the U.S.

So, Alicia Stillman took a bus filled with students across the U.S./Canadian border to Windsor, Ontario, to get immunized.

Stillman has a son who is getting ready to attend the University of Michigan in the fall. According to NBC News, Stillman's sone and many of his classmates will be on the bus.

 

'I feel like I'm giving them such a gift,' Stillman told the network. 'I tell them, "I'm so honored to be able to help you protect your family in a way that I could not protect my daughter.'"

Vaccine: Alicia Stillman took her other children, seen here with Emily, to Canada along with dozens of other students to get immunized

Vaccine: Alicia Stillman took her other children, seen here with Emily, to Canada along with dozens of other students to get immunized

The students were each given doses of Novartis' Bexsero, which has been approved in Europe, Australia and Canada. The drug also was given to thousands of college students throughout the U.S. during the meningitis outbreak last fall.

The drug is not yet approved for use in the U.S. but health officials say they are working on gaining approval for a bacterial meningitis vaccine.

'I couldn't help my own daughter and so now I'm going to help everybody else's,' Alicia Stillman tells PEOPLE. 'It's going to be emotional.'

The comments below have not been moderated.

Mine too.

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One of my friends contracted bacterial meningitis while in college and is alive by the grace of God. She thought she had the flu and by the time she got to the hospital she was in a coma. Everyone was told to say goodbye and she was given last rites because she was not going to survive. Thankfully she survived, finished school, got married, and has kids. Every year there's an outbreak and if there is a vaccine that can be given, we should have it in this country. There are so many medicines and vaccines available to people in other countries that will never enter the US simply because of greed.

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Don't know about this rare form, but we do have vaccines available for meningitis. Look up the following: meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4).....my daughter took it two years ago.

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I wish I knew more about seeking out the vaccine in Canada.

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Then you have the people who refuse to get their kids vaccinated. Amazing.

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Our country cannot be trusted with vaccines. Ours are tainted. I would not take any vaccine in the U.S. You have got to be brain damaged to voluntarily take the flu, measles etc...They are meant to damage you.

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People like you do so much more harm than good. Please really wake-up!!!

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Government healthcare...what could go wrong? FDA will sit on it for years

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"there have been outbreaks of the highly contagious disease at Princeton University and University of California at Santa Barbara" <----THIS and THIS -----> "The drug also was given to thousands of college students throughout the U.S. during the meningitis outbreak last fall."....I believe the DM reported last year exactly which students originally received the drug and which parents had to sound an alarm just to get their kids the vaccination.

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If it's not approved here in the U.S it's because big pharma hasn't worked out a way to make there own so they can charge maximum money for it

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