Mooers teen bringing awareness to a life-threatening disease

MOOERS - At just eight years old, Christina Paola was able to survive a life-threatening illness. However, with meningococcal meningitis, not all who contract it are as lucky.

To help spread the word of the seriousness of meningitis, Paola, now 15, is hosting a Meningitis Awareness 5K Walk/Run next Saturday, Oct. 16.

Although she doesn't remember much about her time being sick, her mother, Laurie Garand, remembers a lot.

"She was sleeping one night and she woke us up and she was really hot, overly hot," Garand explained. "We thought maybe she had got wrapped in her blanket. So, we tried to cool her down, and she wouldn't cool down, so I brought her to the hospital."

Garand said the doctor told her to just give Paola some medication and let her rest. The next day, Paola went to a friend's house while her family went skiing, but soon things got worse.

"I had trouble watching TV as the lights were very bright," explained Paola. "The noise became unbearable. I would cover my head with a blanket; my fever had come back."

Garand contacted the doctor again but was told she was overreacting and to just let Paola rest.

"I was really upset about it so I called my aunt," recalled Garand. "She said just bring her to the hospital again. So, we did. By the time we left our house and got ready and got down there, we couldn't wake her anymore."

After having a spinal tap, it was determined Paola had meningitis. She spent the next two weeks in the hospital and a third week at home resting.

"When she was sick, and we heard meningitis, I thought it was something that happened years ago when we were little," explained Garand. "I didn't know that disease was really still around."

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