The dream will never diePosted: April 21, 2009
It’s been almost 14 years since a wonderful, creative 19 year-old former student of mine, Michael Longo, was torn from his family and friends by an indiscriminate killer – meningitis.
The profound pain and overwhelming sense of loss resulting from this tragedy has subsided somewhat with the passage of time, but the enormous void of Michael’s unrealized dreams remains. The founding of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada in 1998 by Michael’s mother, Kathryn Blain, just 3 years after her only son’s death, has been a treasure, blessing and labor of love for all involved.
In 2004 the MRFC, spearheaded by Blain, successfully lobbied the Ontario government to include meningococcal and pneumococcal meningitis vaccines on the province’s routine immunization schedule.
Blain was quick to acknowledge the McGuinty government for this landmark decision, “Ontario has shown real leadership and taken a very important step by deciding that no more children should suffer when there are safe and effective vaccines to protect them. We’re hopeful that the remaining provinces will now follow.”
Today the MRFC is part of the global Confederation of Meningitis Organizations and invites all Canadians and citizens around the world to ‘join hands around the world’ on World Meningitis Day on April 25, 2009.
The MRFC also invites individuals to add themselves to their ‘Join hands on World Meningitis Day interactive map‘ to show solidarity against this dreaded disease.
As one of the founding directors of the MRFC – I consider myself the luckiest person in the world to work with such wonderful people (Kathryn, Ron, Karen, Ben and Elissa) on such a noble cause.
No doubt Michael Longo’s spirit is with us now, embracing and encouraging us as we join hands around the world to help ensure that the dreams of our children and grandchildren will be fully realized for generations to come.
Photo Credit: CoMO