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15 Years With Sepsis Alliance – Part One

January 2, 2022

In 2022, Sepsis Alliance is celebrating 15 years of advocacy, education, and support for sepsis survivors, caregivers, medical providers, and those who have lost their lives to sepsis. 

What started out of tragedy has become the leading sepsis organization in the U.S., dedicated to saving lives and reducing suffering by improving sepsis awareness and care.  

Sepsis Alliance was founded in 2007 by Carl Flatley, DDS, MSD, whose daughter Erin died unnecessarily of sepsis when she was 23 years old. Dr. Flatley, now a retired endodontist, had never heard of sepsis before Erin’s diagnosis. When he tried to learn more about sepsis, he found nothing. Spurred into action, Dr. Flatley founded Sepsis Alliance to educate others about the condition that took his daughter’s life, and that now takes the lives of over 270,000 others in the U.S. every year.

You, our supporters, have made a huge impact on our work, and in your communities as sepsis advocates. In the 15 years since its inception, Sepsis Alliance has worked diligently to provide education, resources, and support to save lives and limbs, and your support has been imperative to our work. To reflect upon and honor these years of service, we have compiled 15 of our top achievements since 2007.  

This is part one of a series. Check back on Mondays to see what else made the list!



1. Sepsis Awareness Levels Have Increased

Many people, just like Dr. Flatley, are unaware of sepsis until it impacts their lives. In 2003, only 19% of American adults recognized the term “sepsis.” Sepsis Alliance developed an annual awareness survey to measure the progress of awareness and understanding levels among U.S. adults each year. Although over 40% of American adults still do not know that sepsis is a complication of an infection, we found that 65% of American adults now recognize the term “sepsis.” We attribute part of this increase in awareness to our educational efforts over the past 15 years.  

Will the next 15 years see an increase to nearly 100% awareness and understanding of sepsis? We will work hard towards that goal and hope you will join us by sharing Sepsis Alliance information with your loved ones and community. Learn more about how you can raise sepsis awareness here.  



2. Faces of Sepsis™

Faces of Sepsis™ is a place for members of the Sepsis Alliance community to share their experiences of illness, treatment, recovery, and loss, in their own words. The website hosts a collection of survivor stories and memorial tributes. Together, they describe symptoms, hospital experiences, losses, and after-effects. This online community is meant to provide solace to those affected by sepsis and provide assurance to all contributors that they are not alone in this difficult journey. Over 1,500 people of all ages have submitted their stories.  

Read Faces of Sepsis™ stories here. You can also share your own sepsis experience by clicking here. 



3. Sepsis Awareness Month and Other Observances

In 2011, Sepsis Alliance designated September as Sepsis Awareness Month. Every September since, we have invited individuals, healthcare professionals, and organizations of all sizes to help save lives and limbs by raising sepsis awareness. We also encourage supporters all over the country to advocate for sepsis observances in their own city and state. This monthly observance is now honored worldwide.  

Learn more about Sepsis Awareness Month here.  

Given the success of Sepsis Awareness Month, Sepsis Alliance established three additional observances in 2019, with more specialized focuses: 

  • During Sepsis Survivor Week, the second week of February, Sepsis Alliance partners with sepsis survivors to honor their experiences, share their individual stories of survival, and bring attention to the unseen mental, emotional, and physical challenges many survivors face every day. Learn more here. 
  • Pediatric Sepsis Week is the third week of April. During this observance, Sepsis Alliance recognizes the 75,000 children who develop sepsis each year in the U.S. and honors those who have passed. Learn more here.  
  • Maternal Sepsis Week, originally Maternal Sepsis Day, is the week surrounding Mother’s Day in the U.S. During this observance, Sepsis Alliance raises awareness of the unique signs and symptoms of pregnancy-related sepsis, bringing to light the personal experiences of those who have endured it and remembering those who have passed. Learn more here.  



4. Sepsis Heroes Awards

For nine years, Sepsis Alliance recognized passionate individuals, innovative organizations, and dedicated groups as Sepsis Heroes. The nominations for Sepsis Heroes awards have covered the breadth of sepsis research, awareness, and advocacy. Awardees have ranged from politicians to hospitals to sepsis survivors. These groups and individuals have been grateful for the recognition, inspired by others‘ stories, and further empowered to continue making significant strides in sepsis awareness, education, and research. Learn more about past Sepsis Heroes here.   



**Check back next Monday for part two of the series**