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Founder Of Meningitis Angels: Oologah Families Are Not Alone

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Shortly after her son's death, Frankie Milley founded Meningitis Angels, a support group to help families and survivors. She calls the tragedy in Oologah "devastating." Shortly after her son's death, Frankie Milley founded Meningitis Angels, a support group to help families and survivors. She calls the tragedy in Oologah "devastating."
Two elementary children have died and four others are in the Children's Hospital at Saint Francis. Two elementary children have died and four others are in the Children's Hospital at Saint Francis.
Milley has a message for the families in Oologah -- there are families across the country that can relate and she's here to help. Milley has a message for the families in Oologah -- there are families across the country that can relate and she's here to help.

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A deadly outbreak of bacterial meningitis has parents in Oologah on edge.

The family of a kindergartner is by his bedside, praying for a miracle. They know just how deadly this disease can be -- it's already killed two second graders at the same school.

3/12/2010  Related Story: Second Oologah Meningitis Fatality Identified

The national director of a group that helps the families of the victims of bacterial meningitis is in Tulsa. She says the surviving children face a lifetime of challenges. 

Ryan Milley was 18-years-old when he contracted bacterial meningitis. His mother says one day he was fine, and the next he was in the hospital with his mother and father at his side watching his life slip away.

"Bob was just reaching for him and telling him over and over, 'Daddy loves you baby boy, daddy loves you, daddy loves you.' And Ryan's heart started beating just long enough for him to look at his dad and say, 'I know.' That's the last thing he said," said Frankie Milley, Meningitis Angels founder.

Shortly after her son's death, Milley founded Meningitis Angels, a support group to help families and survivors.

She calls the tragedy in Oologah "devastating," as two elementary children have died -- 7-year-old Andrew Thomas and 8-year-old Shuache Moua. Four others are in the Children's Hospital at Saint Francis. Health officials have spent the past two days giving antibiotics to anyone who came in contact with the sick children in Oologah, more than 800 shots in all.

3/12/2010  Related Story: Health Officials Hand Out Antibiotics In Oologah

But Milley says those antibiotics won't be enough because it only lasts for a certain length of time. She says what the kids in Oologah need is a vaccine and believes it's the only way to prevent the deadly bacteria from harming someone else.

"Well yeah, because the antibiotic is going to get rid of the bacteria right now but it's going to come right back," said Milley. "Unless you can do something to prevent and create a herd immunity, what's to say it's not going to resurface in two weeks?"

Milley also has a message for the families in Oologah -- there are families across the country that can relate and she's here to help.

"They're not alone and we truly do understand when nobody else does," said Milley.

Contact Meningitis Angels

Learn more about Meningitis Angels.

For more information on meningococcal disease, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

3/12/2010  Related Story: 2 Oklahomans Share Meningitis Story Hoping to Help

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