By Lisa and Jon Krizman
Eight years ago we lost our daughter Sierra to meningococcal meningitis, a vaccine-preventable disease.
It was Easter morning. Sierra was her happy, healthy, loveable self, but by evening she started to show classic flu-like symptoms. Within 24 hours she was in the emergency room on a ventilator. The following morning, on April 10, 2007, our beautiful Sierra succumbed to the devastating bacteria that had invaded her body, meningococcal meningitis. Our lives from that day forward would never be the same.
Our family was not aware of this fatal disease, or of the vaccine that could have prevented it, until it was too late. Now, we know that meningitis kills or disables around 1.2 million people per year.
Sierra was two months away from turning 21 years old. She was working her way through college in order to fulfill her dream of becoming an elementary teacher. She was everything good in this world, never afraid to share her outlook on life with anyone and everyone. Sierra had a way of ensuring that everyone who crossed her path felt special and understood that they truly mattered. Her life of faith, generosity, love and kindness inspired all those she touched and continues to this day.
We are now missing a huge piece of our life, a piece that could never be replaced. But her spirit lives on in us and guides us as we do everything we can to help others. We can’t change what happened to Sierra, or the many other victims of this devastating disease, but we can prevent this horrible tragedy from happening to another family. This is our goal.
Sierra’s Race Against Meningitis came to be as our effort to get the word out about meningococcal meningitis in a big way — with health, wellness and fellowship as our platform. All of the proceeds/donations from the event go to funding free vaccination clinics and growing awareness around meningococcal meningitis.
For seven years we hosted one of Northern Colorado’s largest 5k run/walk events with unbelievable participation and success. However, we’re excited to announce that this year we’re mixing it up.
The 2015 Sierra’s Race will be a virtual race that will allow anyone, anywhere to participate. In order to make this a success, we need your help!
The concept is simple: take a video of yourself, your friends or your family – whoever! – “racing” (creativity encouraged) and post it to social media with #SierrasRace between now and July 5. Then challenge someone to do the same thing within 24 hours!
Once you’ve posted your race, make a donation at SierrasRace.com to raise awareness and fund free vaccinations to save lives. In return, everyone who donates $25 or more will qualify to receive a long-sleeve t-shirt, a free meningitis vaccine (details below), and be entered to win prizes, including an all-inclusive trip for two to Mexico.
We want to thank our friends, family, community, sponsors and everyone else who has aided in our effort to help raise awareness and provide free vaccinations. Over the past eight years we have provided over 4,300 free meningococcal vaccinations!
We miss Sierra more than words can express, but we find comfort in knowing we are doing our best to make sure others don’t have to endure what we have and continue to go through. Please get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated and take the time to educate yourself about this disease. We hope you’ll join us in paying it forward to help stop this disease.
Free Meningococcal Vaccination Clinic
July 29, 2015 from 3-7 p.m.
1905 W 8th St. #101
Loveland, CO 80537
All are welcome