Sepsis Advocates Launch Awareness Campaign in the Bay Area


December 6th, 2018

Touched personally by sepsis, two residents of Northern California’s Bay Area spread sepsis awareness in their community with the help of Sepsis Alliance.

 

Sepsis Ken Flach Jill Kogan Blake ChristinaJill Kogan Blake spent five and a half weeks in a coma. When she woke she could not control any of her normal body functions. She couldn’t do things as simple as swallowing or sitting. Why? The culprit was a medical condition she’d never heard of – sepsis.

Sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to an infection, affects 1.7 million people in the U.S. A serious medical emergency, sepsis takes 270,000 lives a year in the U.S. It is also responsible for an average of 38 amputations per day in the country (Sepsis and Amputations).

Eventually, Jill re-learned to sit, stand, walk, feed herself and perform the daily functions that most of us take for granted. Of her recovery, Jill wrote, “It took a long time to crawl out of the hole both physically and mentally. I feel like I am rebuilding my soul brick by brick.”

Jill survived sepsis and discovered a new path. She was on a mission to save lives and limbs from sepsis. Jill started raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis in her community. She hosts the annual Aquamania! Swim for Sepsis Awareness. Jill has raised over $100,000 to date to help fund awareness programs, including Sepsis: First Response, a sepsis training video.

In March of 2018, Gold Medalist and Grand Slam Champion Ken Flach suddenly passed away from sepsis. Since then, his widow, Christina Flach, has dedicated her life to sharing information about sepsis in order to help prevent further deaths from the disease that took her husband’s life. Like Jill, Christina wasn’t aware of sepsis until it changed her life.

“Ken was a strong, healthy athlete who took great care in how he treated his body. None of that mattered to sepsis. Sepsis doesn’t care if you fill up on kale, participate in road races on the weekend, or meditate,” shared Christina. “Sepsis took my husband far too early, and what is so frustrating is that it’s something we didn’t know about even though it kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and AIDS.”

With support from Sepsis Alliance, Jill and Christina launched a public awareness campaign in Northern California’s Bay Area. The campaign stems from the organization’s It’s About TIME™ initiative and invites the public to, “Take the time, Learn the signs at sepsis.org/quiz/bay-area.”

sepsis, angelica hale, ken flachThe campaign features three poster designs, which are now hung throughout the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Golden Gate Ferry transportation systems. The most widespread design (above) features Ken Flach and can be found on a third of BART trains.

Golden Gate Ferry passengers can view a poster of Angelica Hale, America’s Got Talent finalist who survived sepsis when she was only 4 years old. Angelica has partnered with Sepsis Alliance as a Sepsis Celebrity Advocate to raise awareness of the symptoms of sepsis through the T.I.M.E. acronym that stands for:

T – Temperature – higher or lower than normal

I – Infection – may have signs or symptoms of infection

M – Mental Decline – confused, sleepy, difficult to rouse

E – Extremely ill – “I feel like I might die,” severe pain or discomfort
 
sepsis, it's about timeThe third poster, which also appears on Golden Gate Ferry ships, educates the public about T.I.M.E and the importance of seeking medical attention as soon as symptoms are present.

All three posters invite the viewer to seek supplementary information and increase their sepsis knowledge at sepsis.org/quiz/bay-area.

“If this awareness campaign helps prevent even one death, it will be worth all the efforts,” said Christina.

“I designed this campaign with the deliberate intent of saving lives and limbs and reducing suffering by spreading awareness of sepsis in the Bay Area,” said Jill. “Please help us do this.”

Take the time to learn the signs by taking the quiz at sepsis.org/quiz/bay-area.

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of sepsis, click here.

Jill Kogan Blake is a 2018 Sepsis Hero recipient. To learn more about her click here