A Tribute to a Mother – Faces of Sepsis Reaches 400 Stories


September 30th, 2015

Four hundred sepsis survivors, loved ones, and health care professionals put faces to a disease fewer than half of Americans know about, as part of the Sepsis Alliance Faces of Sepsis campaign.

San Diego, California (September 30, 2015) – Sepsis Alliance has published its 400th sepsis story as part of its Faces of Sepsis campaign. The four-year-old campaign gives a prominent voice to sepsis survivors and those who have lost loved ones to the illness, people who often feel alone, unheard, and misunderstood. Last year, Sepsis Alliance captured three of these stories in vivid detail with its short film, also called Faces of Sepsis.

The most recent story is a tribute from Liam Lillis to his mother, Peggy Lillis, who died from septic shock. “We submitted our mother’s story to the Sepsis Alliance website to help them raise critical awareness of what sepsis looks like. Our mother died from sepsis arising from a virulent Clostridium difficile infection on April 21, 2010,” said Liam’s brother, Christian. Lillis thought he knew what septic shock was, but he quickly learned that he was wrong. “I imagined septic shock like it was on television. An unconscious patient in the last throws of some awful infection. At that time, my mother had been sitting up just behind the curtain in the emergency room.”

The Faces of Sepsis campaign is the first depository where members of the public and healthcare professionals can share their stories, with a united goal of educating the public about sepsis, an illness that kills more than 258,000 people in the U.S. each year, more than breast cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer combined, but fewer than half of Americans have ever heard of it. “We learned the hardest possible way that sepsis kills,” Lillis said. Stories like his mother’s show the reader what sepsis does look like.

The Faces of Sepsis film highlights the stories of Jose Carlos Romero-Herrera, who survived sepsis when he was just weeks old, Joe Caruso, also a sepsis survivor, and Franchot Swanagan, who lost his mother Gladys L. Reaves, to sepsis. The film has been viewed thousands of times over the past year both online, at sepsis awareness events, and in healthcare facilities across the country.

“Some people who write to us say that they thought they were alone until they found our organization,” Thomas Heymann, Executive Director of Sepsis Alliance explained. “They tell us that by sharing their story, they’re not only helping others, they are helping themselves. They find it therapeutic to write it out. Others have written to say that they recognized signs of sepsis in someone because of a story they have read. That is a great testimonial to the power of these stories.”

To learn more about the Faces of Sepsis or to contribute your own story, please visit FacesOfSepsis.org.

About Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the leading nonprofit patient advocacy organization in North America promoting awareness of sepsis. Sepsis Alliance’s mission is to save lives by raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. The organization hosts national and community events, distributes educational information, and promotes training and education of sepsis and its devastating effects. Sepsis Alliance also provides support by giving patients and family members information about sepsis and Post Sepsis Syndrome, as well as a community forum to share their experiences. Sepsis Alliance, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is a GuideStar Gold Rated Charity. For more information, please visit https://www.sepsis.org.