Despite losing much of her left arm, right hand and parts of both feet to meningococcal meningitis septicemia at 14 months, Danielle Weymark is pretty much unstoppable. The 22-year-old Australian has undergone more than 70 operations and endured constant pain, but still become a champion equestrian — and last week gave birth to twins, Oliver and Lara.
“She’s been through a lot more than most people would ever dream about,” her mother Leanne Weymark told The Sydney Morning Herald. “She has arthritis in her legs, she has a lot of pain. She doesn’t whinge, she just gets on with it.”
Danielle’s advice to other meningitis survivors is: “Just keep trying, find your own way to do things, if someone suggests a way to do it and you find a better way, don’t listen to them. They don’t know you.”
Danielle began riding horses at 8 years old, and by 16 was competing in dressage events — now with the aim to compete in the Paralympic Games for Australia. Along with all her brand new responsibilities, she and her partner, Mathew Johnson, 21, are breaking in a wild foal which will be the babies’ first pony.
In the course of attending antenatal classes, Weymark came to realize that many parents were misinformed about meningococcal vaccinations. “Just don’t assume that once you get one vaccine, you’re covered for all strains, because you’re not,” she said.
Although doctors were not able to isolate the strain she contracted, it was suspected of being meningococcal B, which — although privately available — is not yet part of the national vaccination schedule in Australia. In the United States, vaccines are available that help protect against all three commonly seen serogroups (B, C, and Y) of meningococcal disease.
Read the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald.
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