National Meningitis Association

The National Meningitis Association (NMA) is a nonprofit organization founded by parents whose children have died or live with permanent disabilities from meningococcal disease.

NMA’s mission is to educate families, medical professionals and others about bacterial meningitis and prevention approaches to the disease

In particular, NMA is focused on increasing awareness of the dangers of meningococcal disease among adolescents and young adults, who are at increased risk for the disease. Many of whom can be protected through education and vaccination efforts.

NMA’s Goals

  • To help ensure every child is offered protection from meningococcal disease through vaccination programs;

  • To help educate families, medical professionals, and others about the dangers of bacterial meningitis and prevention approaches to the disease;

  • To support research and development of improved meningitis vaccines;

  • To support research and development of improved treatments for patients stricken by meningitis;

  • To assist families dealing with, and survivors of, meningococcal disease.

Educational Programs and Resource Materials

NMA is committed to educating the public about meningococcal disease and has developed a variety of educational programs and resources to inform local communities about the risks of the disease among adolescents and young adults and available prevention methods.

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Our Stories

Candie Benn, a Founding Director
Daughter Melanie survived meningococcal disease

Melanie’s Story

On Christmas Eve, Candie’s daughter, Melanie, a college freshman, began to experience flu-like symptoms. When her condition worsened, she was rushed to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with meningococcemia. After a one-year battle with the disease, amputations of her arms and legs, and a kidney transplant, Melanie survived and went on to achieve great things, including earning a Master’s degree in social work from UCLA and winning medals for swimming at the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Paralympics.

“As a mother, you would do anything to protect your children,” said Candie, “If I had known Melanie was at risk for this disease and that vaccination could have potentially prevented it, she would have been immunized.”

Lynn Bozof, Founding Member and Executive Director
Son Evan died of meningococcal disease

Evan’s Story

Lynn’s son, Evan, was a junior at Georgia Southwestern University when he contracted meningococcal disease. After a 26-day battle with meningococcal disease and meningococcemia, and amputation of both arms and legs, Evan died from the disease. Unfortunately, Lynn was unaware that adolescents and young adults are at increased risk for contracting this deadly disease or that it was potentially vaccine-preventable.

“Had we known about this vaccine, Evan would definitely have been immunized and he would be alive today,” said Lynn.

To learn more about the other NMA board members and their experiences with meningococcal disease, please visit the NMA Web site at

Getting it: A Disease…A Vaccine

NMA recently developed an educational video called “Getting It: A Disease…A Vaccine”, which is narrated by actress Glenn Close and designed to educate parents and school communities about the risks of meningococcal disease for adolescents and young adults and the importance of prevention. The video features families and individuals personally affected by meningococcal disease discussing how the disease has impacted their lives.

To accompany the video, NMA developed a corresponding resource guide, which includes suggested lesson plans and materials for parents and students, designed to help educators utilize the video within the classroom and initiate discussions on the disease.

The educational video, which received a 2007 Bronze Telly Award, was written and produced by Emmy-award winner and NMA advisory board member Doug Myers. Nancy Snyderman, MD, NBC Today Show chief medical correspondent and NMA advisory board member, provided medical commentary for the video.

The Brendan Hession Foundation Scholarship: Meningitis Survivor Educational Assistance Award

The award is given in memory of Brendan Hession, who died on March 17, 1997 of bacterial meningitis. He was seventeen. Brendan loved learning and was a gifted student.  At the time of his death, he had qualified as a National Merit semi-finalist.

Meningitis prevented Brendan from reaching his educational goals. But–in his memory—Brendan’s family and friends seek to assist those that have suffered and survived this terrible disease in achieving their dreams.

For further information, contact Jane Hession at or visit


Important disclaimer: The information on is for educational purposes only and should not be considered to be medical advice. It is not meant to replace the advice of the physician who cares for your child. All medical advice and information should be considered to be incomplete without a physical exam, which is not possible without a visit to your doctor.

Information is the power
parents have over disease.