At 19 on the 3rd May 2017 Meningococcal disease cut short the life of beautiful, vibrant and compassionate Emma-Kate McGrath. A graduate from Loreto College Ballarat, Emma-Kate was studying Nursing/Paramedicine at the Australian Catholic University Campus when she died suddenly.
Within the space of 15 hours, the teen went from a seemingly healthy young woman, showing initial symptoms of what appeared to be a virus or the flu, to falling victim to a force that overwhelmed her body until it couldn’t fight any longer. Meningococcal Septicaemia W strain invaded Emma-Kate’s blood and internal organs. Her body was riddled with this rapid and toxic infection, yet the cause of meningococcal in Emma-Kate still remains unknown.
4k In Honour Of Emma. Over 200 people joined Lucy Loader and Abby McGrath (Emma-Kate’s Mother) who organised the inaugural 4EK Walk to raise awareness of meningococcal disease.
The walk is about more than just raising awareness for the disease, more importantly it is telling the community about vaccinating against the disease. There are four strains of the disease and two vaccinations will inoculate a person against all four. Vaccination for meningococcal A, C, W and Y strains is available for children aged 12 months and teenagers as part of government immunisation programs.
Meningococcal is not always fatal. The Foundation uses fundraising efforts to support children and families affected by meningococcal across Australia, building on Emma-Kate’s passion for helping others. Recently help was given to a family in Perth with a donation of $15,000. Their child contracted the disease when she was seven months old and as a consequence has acquired brain damage.
Emma-Kate is buried in the Ballarat New Cemetery, Bird Song Gardens Section M Grave 03