S.Jersey mother recalls son's meningitis death

April 1, 2009 3:08:49 PM PDT
In recent weeks, there have been a series of meningitis cases in the area.

4 students at the University of Pennsylvania have had bacterial meningitis.

As well as a student at Penn State, and one at East Stroudsburg University.

And just yesterday, we learned a student at Welsh elementary school in North Philadelphia was also hospitalized with bacterial meningitis.

Now a mother in Cherry Hill, New Jersey is sharing her story, in hopes it can prevent others from getting the disease.

"Not a day goes by that I don't think of him."

Sue Burd says her son Jeff was a great student, a great friend... And an avid hockey player.

Burd says, "He played on two ice hockey teams, roller hockey, deck hockey, he watched the Flyers, it was really what he loved."

But in February of 2004, just before Jeff turned 17, his life was cut short.

It started with a low fever, but quickly got worse.

Burd remembers, "The next morning, he woke up and his fever was high about 104 and he said he ached all over and felt really bad."

And it escalated.

Jeff had a seizure, and was rushed to the emergency room, but it was too late.

"From the time he didn't feel great that was wednesday at 7pm by the next day at 6pm he was gone," Burd says.

Jeff had an aggressive type of meningitis that got into in his bloodstream.

The meningitis vaccine wasn't recommended for kids his age at the time but it is now. Sue says there's no telling whether the shot would have saved his life but she does want other parents to know it's available.

She also wants parents to learn more about the disease and its symptoms....So hopefully it will prevent losing more great kids like Jeff.

Burd says fondly, "He wasn't the biggest kid, wasn't the strongest but all the coaches said he had the biggest heart."

Learn more about meningitis: www.cdc.gov.

Sue Burd has also set a memorial fund in Jeff's name to raise awareness about meningitis. It's scheduled for Saturday, April 25th, 2009 at Freedom Park in Medford, N.J. Registration begins at 12:00pm and the walk kicks off at 1:00pm. For more information, visit: www.jeffburd.org

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