The Texas Jewish Post published a wonderful article about Jamie in their October issue. Written by Deb Silverthorn, this editorial paints a great picture of Jamie's Journey and her influence on the community. As a young girl, Jamie Schanbaum twirled and trained at Sarasue’s Academy of Dance for 10 years. As a young woman, just 21 years old, Jamie, a sophomore at UT Austin and a survivor of meningitis, spends her days studying and still training, along with three hours of physical therapy — all with great determination, strength of character and belief in herself. “I never thought I’d be here but I am, and there’s nothing I won’t be able to do.”
Last Nov. 12, Jamie spent the night at a friend’s home, waking up feeling achy and worn, each step on the tile colder to her touch than the one before. “I was freezing and nauseous, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong,” she said. “At 7 in the morning I went home and I couldn’t keep anything down. The pain and heaviness in my feet soon moved to my hands and I didn’t know what was wrong but I knew it wasn’t good. I called my sister and by the time we got to the hospital, I couldn’t stand and I was brought in on a wheelchair.”
Jamie, who had not received the Manactra/MCV4 meningitis vaccine (recommended by the CDC to all children after age 11), was diagnosed with meningococcemia, a deadly infection of the blood. The disease is caused by bacteria entering the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain, which irritates the meninges, the membranes that line the brain and spinal cord.
“I remember lying there and my legs turned black. My legs, then my hands, knees and elbows. They were black,” Jamie said. Hers was the second confirmed case of the disease on the university’s campus last fall. The first student, according to University Health Services’ Sherry Bell, recovered completely.