Alex Dempsey and her fiancé Gabriel Schultz, a couple from Chesterfield, VA, are mourning the loss of their 4-month-old son, Killy Schultz, after he tragically passed away from meningitis on June 30 within 24 hours of his first symptom. Now, Alex is doing her best to warn others about meningitis and the importance of getting vaccinated regardless of your age.
According to his mom, Killy's symptoms appeared totally out of the blue. "He had just eaten his bottle for the afternoon," she told CBS affiliate WTVR. "He was a little warm but we figured it was a warm day so [we] get him home and let him cool off."
Alex decided to give her son some Tylenol, and when that didn't bring his temperature down, she took him to the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital. After being admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, Killy's condition worsened by the hour.
"He was still trying to make little sounds, but he had a hard time opening his eyes and his blood pressure was very low," said Alex. "He wasn't doing well at all."
Coincidentally just two days after getting his 4-month-old vaccinations, doctors confirmed that Killy had contracted meningitis — a deadly disease where the brain and spinal cord membranes become inflamed usually due to an infection — and would likely not survive.
"The moment they said meningitis I knew there was a really strong possibility that we were gonna lose him," said Alex. "They told us we were going to hit the window if he was going to make it or not but being he was only 4 months old he didn't really have an immune system to help us with that."
"We want people to be aware that vaccinations can prevent things like this."
Soon, Killy's heart rate began to drop and his parents knew that the end was near.
"They started to do CPR, and after 10 minutes of CPR, you don't come back from that, so we had to tell them to stop," explained Alex.
After speaking with medical experts in Virginia, the grieving parents learned Killy most likely contracted the disease from a person who wasn't vaccinated.
"Health officials we've spoken to who have been trying to track this down, that's just their best guess that an unvaccinated person was carrying it around and my child happened to be the one who came in contact with it," said Alex.
At the end of the day, Alex doesn't want anyone to go through the same thing she did. Now, she's begging others to get vaccinated.
"If anything comes out of this, we want people to be aware that vaccinations can prevent things like this," she said. "Vaccines aren't just for kids, they're for adults too. He was just a baby, so he really didn't have much of a chance."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that kids should receive the meningococcal vaccination at 11 or 12 years old and get a booster shot at age 16.