Meningitis B didn’t wait for Ashley to be college-aged before striking. She was 16.



    "Is 16 years old too early to think about meningitis B?"

    AAFP, AAP, ACHA, and ACOG, among other US medical organizations, urge healthcare professionals to make sure their 16-year-old patients receive vaccines recommended for them according to the CDC’s US Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger.1


    "How can I fit in a 2-dose meningitis B vaccination series in a busy calendar?"

    Only BEXSERO offers patients the fastest MenB series completion, with 2 doses in as fast as 1 month.2,3

    Vaccination may not protect all recipients.


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    Ashley’s Meningitis B Story

    Ashley’s Meningitis B Story
    On-screen Text:
    Ashley is a meningococcal disease Advocate. She is not a healthcare provider. This is her story in her own words.

    Ashley was compensated by GSK for her participation in this program. This is one person’s experience. Other people’s experiences with meningococcal disease may be different.

    Vaccination may not protect all recipients.

    When I was a kid, I loved music and dance. I did jazz, ballet, and tap.

    What I loved about dance was I could kind of get into my own world. I could really feel the music.

    Every year, we would have a recital, and it was basically like the opportunity to get, you know, your hair done, makeup, the lights, being center stage, getting flowers. It was just a thrill to get up in front of hundreds of people and show off!

    At one point, I did consider dance as a possible career. But things changed dramatically for me.

    On-screen Text:

    I was 16 years old. It was actually the summer before my junior year.

    I woke up, didn’t feel the greatest, kind of had a headache and just kind of rested at the house that day, and then throughout the evening, it just kind of got worse. I felt nauseous, threw up a little, head was hurting, and then about 2 o’clock in the morning I woke up, and I had two small bruises on my right side.

    I sleep a few hours. My alarm goes off at six. I wake up, and this time those two bruises are now like hundreds of little bruises all over my body–my legs, my chest, my face, my arms–and then eventually it was to the point where I couldn’t even walk.

    I was really scared. I just knew that something wasn’t right.

    My mom put me right in the car and took me straight to the emergency room.

    I wasn’t able to easily move. My fingers were swelling. I was in extreme pain.

    Once they did the spinal tap, at that point, I don’t remember anything after that.

    They needed to put me into a medically induced coma, which I was in for a week.

    When I woke up, my hands were black, my fingers were black, my toes were– were dark. There was a lot of damage.

    The doctors came in. They told me that I had meningococcal meningitis with septicemia, explained, you know, what had happened, you know, that I would have to have surgeries, that there was, you know, a long road ahead of me.

    I asked the doctors and nurses all types of questions and realized ultimately in the end that I was lucky to be alive, that many people die from meningococcal meningitis, and I was actually one of the lucky ones.

    They did 20 to 25 surgeries just on my hands. All my fingers were taken to that last knuckle, if not a little bit further.

    Emotionally, it was–it was hard. I cried. Pretty sure the doctor didn’t know how to take that. I think dealing with a young patient, even he was kind of taken back by the emotion of it all.

    During the time with my fingers, I knew I’d probably have to have some toes amputated, but then the decision was made that I needed to get my left leg amputated up to my ankle.

    At first, I didn’t want to do it. My mother stepped in and was like, “You can’t deny the surgery. You have to get it. You will die if you don’t get the surgery.”

    I think the leg was more emotionally difficult for me because I felt like that was taking away my independence, like I felt like losing my fingers was ok. I would figure things out. It may not be easy, but at least I can be upright. I can walk, but once I lost my leg, like what does that look like?

    Losing my leg meant to me that I wouldn’t be able to dance again.

    It was emotions that I never thought I would experience, never had a history with. You know, as a teenager, you’re invincible. You don’t think anything bad can happen to you, so like, the worst thing is like your boyfriend breaks up with you or somebody talks bad about you at school, and now here I am facing all these big emotions and how do you deal with that?

    It was one of the most painful of the amputations. I would have what they call phantom pain, and that lasted a few months.

    One of the things that I did was make sure there was always a pillow in the bed where my leg was. You know, when I had a blanket over–over me, the pillow had to be there. It had to be folded and kind of look like a leg. It had to be shaped that way, and I did that throughout the entirety of my hospital stay.

    Getting sick at 16 is completely different than what most 16-year-olds are dealing with.

    I had to re-learn how to walk. I had to relearn how to feed myself, re-learn how to brush my hair, just things that you don’t think you’ll have to learn to do again once you’ve learned them.

    After high school, I went on to college. Took a little longer than anticipated, but went on, got a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and then took that a step further to get an MBA.

    I got married, had a daughter, Bailey.

    Motherhood was definitely different. I didn’t know how I was going to change a diaper. I really didn’t until she was born, and then I figured it out along with everything else when she was a baby, how to get her in and out of a car seat. I figured it out just like I’d figured out everything before that.

    Going through life, there’s always going to be a challenge. I’m always going to run into something I haven’t done before, and how do I do that? I don’t know going in a lot of times if I can do it, but if I don’t try, then I’ll never know, so I’m always, you know, up for the challenge to figure out a way to do something.

    There’s times when I look back and it’s sad to think everything that I went through, everything that changed, how I changed as a person and where I am now today versus where I would have been had it not happened, but ultimately, in the end, I wouldn’t change anything, because I feel like because of what I went through, I am who I am today.

    I have a new–a new dance. It may not be on a stage or in a dance class, but I still dance through life, and I’m now comfortable with that.

    One of the reasons I’m passionate about meningitis awareness is because many people don’t know about it. They don’t know what it can do to your body.

    My hope is that no one else has to experience this awful disease.

    Vaccines are available to help prevent meningitis, and parents need to be aware of the risks of the disease and what their options are.

    On-screen Text:
    Adolescents/young adults need vaccines to help protect against the 5 vaccine-preventable serogroups for meningitis—Men A, B, C, W, & Y. Vaccination may not protect all recipients.

    As Bailey’s mom, I want to do everything in my power to help prevent her from going through what I did. Please help educate your patients about meningitis. Don’t leave it up to chance.

    On-Screen Text:
    GSK logo
    Trademarks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies.
    ©2023 GSK or licensor.
    BEXVID230054 November 2023
    Produced in USA.


    “All my fingers were taken to that last knuckle. And then my leg was amputated.”

    — Ashley


Ashley is a survivor of meningococcal disease and not a healthcare provider. She was compensated by GSK for her participation in this program. This is her experience with meningococcal disease; others’ experiences may be different.


Vaccination may not protect all recipients.


1. Munger M, Wesner-Harts K, Yasuda K, et al. 16-year-old patients: make sure they receive their annual well visit and vaccinations. Dear colleague letter. Immunization Action Coalition. August 1, 2019. Accessed December 10, 2021.

2. Prescribing Information for BEXSERO

3. Prescribing Information for TRUMENBA