Aaron Loy was forced to have both of his feet amputated after contracting meningitis as part of a campus outbreak at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Loy is only 18-years-old and a member of the lacrosse team.
Loy, along with three other UCSB students were infected with meningitis within a short three week span in November that took place only a little while after Princeton revealed the presence of meningitis on its campus.
Meningitis is a life threatening disease which causes swelling in the spinal cord and brain. In Loy’s case it affected the blood supply to his legs and feet which necessitated him having both feet amputated to save his life.
The lacrosse program at UCSB has posted a link via its Facebook page where donations can be made to help Loy recover. The donations will go to HelpHopeLive.org which will help Loy’s family cover medical costs, prosthetics, and other equipment. There is hope of one day getting specialized athletic prosthetics for Loy which could help him to play lacrosse again.
Aaron Loy’s surgery took place in November and now the student is receiving follow up care to address his various wounds. The family has been asked to comment on his condition but has refused to grant interviews.
They did however release a statement which said, “With Aaron’s passionate drive and competitive spirit, we are confident that he will return to UCSB and resume his athletic lifestyle as quickly as possible.”
Many of Aaron’s friends are not only struck with grief over Aaron’s fate, but they are also concerned for their own health. One of Aaron’s friends reports that there was a party that Aaron attended and the next day he was in a coma. Due to the highly contagious nature of meningitis and the unsanitary conditions of most college parties, there appears to be ample reason for concern.
Loy’s tragic amputation has raised awareness for students across the country concerning the seriousness of meningitis. At UCSB 500 students that were in contact with the four infected students have received antibiotics.
Further, at Princeton, students have been lining up to get the recently available vaccination for type B meningitis. One third of Princeton’s student population received the shot on Monday alone. That is 2,000 of the 6,000 currently enrolled students at Princeton.
Students say that they know the consequences of being careless with their health right now. One student at Princeton said that her classmates all know the consequences and she said that there was no, “reason not to get it.”
The vaccination the students will receive is not normally available in the United States. This is only because type B meningitis is not common in the United States, but seen normally in Europe and parts of Australia. In these countries the vaccine is approved for use and in circulation.
As students around the country begin to learn the seriousness of this deadly disease many will receive vaccinations because of the story of Aaron Loy. Officials will do all they can to prevent another college student to become a victim of meningitis and have to suffer the tragedy of having his or her feet amputated.
This story originally said donations should go to CaringBridge. Update: All donotations should go to HelpHopeLive.org where a private fund has been set up to help Aaron Loy. For those who look to cheer Aaron on through his recovery please head to CaringBridge.
By Nick Manai