Bill 2, Meningitis Awareness Day Act, 2010 Passes Second Reading
Kitchener MPP Pendergast called on the Government of Ontario to proclaim April 24th in each
year as Meningitis Awareness Day. The Bill passed Second Reading and has now
been ordered to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
Meningitis is a serious infection caused by inflammation of the lining around the brain
and spinal cord. Meningitis kills and maims children, young people and adults the world
over. The disease has no boundaries based on wealth, colour, creed or country and is
often mistaken for the flu.
Approximately 10 per cent of individuals who contract the disease will die. Of those who
survive, up to one in five suffer permanent disabilities such as hearing loss, neurological
damage and limb amputation. Meningitis spreads through close contact, with the
bacteria being transmitted through coughing or sneezing, sharing personal items, such
as eating utensils, kissing and close physical contact.
The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada (MRFC) was established in 1998 to
prevent death and disability from meningitis and other infections of the central nervous
system. Through education the MRFC provides support to patients and their families
affected by meningitis, increases public awareness of meningitis and promotes better
understanding of the disease among healthcare professionals. The MRFC also provides
funds for research into improved diagnosis, treatment and prevention of meningitis.
April 24 in each year is World Meningitis Day. Proclaiming April 24 as Meningitis
Awareness Day in Ontario supports the work of the MRFC by heightening awareness of
meningitis and dedicates a day to sharing best practices, information and research that
are all essential to ensuring that no family loses a loved one to this terrible disease.
“A Meningitis Awareness day is a profound acknowledgment of the tireless efforts of
Kathryn Blain, a meaningful tribute to the memory of her only son Michael Longo and a
beacon of hope for the numerous other innocent victims of this horrific disease.”
- Michael Redfearn, Executive Assistant, Meningitis Research Foundation of
Canada and Technology Consultant, Waterloo Catholic District School Board.
“We are very excited about the events of today and feel that the declaration of April 24th
being Meningitis Awareness Day will provide further opportunity to raise awareness of
this insidious disease to families of Ontario. We are very thankful to Leeanna
Pendergast for her initiative and passion in bringing this about.”
- Kathryn Blain, Founder and Chair, and Member of the Board of Directors of
the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada.
“It is my privilege to guide this Bill through the legislative process. I thank Kathryn Blain
for her vision, leadership and commitment to the health and safety of Ontarians through
the promotion of meningitis awareness. Kathryn is an inspiration to us all and we are a
better province as a result of her work.”
- Leeanna Pendergast, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga