Meet Maria Scali’s Hometown Hero

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VALLEY VIEW, Ohio --  A Valley View woman's personal loss has turned into a mom's mission to keep young people from dying from a preventable disease, and that makes Cindy Krejny Fox 8 News Reporter Maria Scali's Hometown Hero.

Krejny can only wonder what would have become of her daughter, Erin.  

"She had so many friends and she had the kind of sparkle in her eyes," Cindy said.

In 1997, Erin was a Freshman at Eastern Michigan University.  

She had been home on spring break and had just returned to school, but was not feeling well. 

"She started feeling like she had the flu on the day she went back to college," Cindy recalled.

Complaining of numbness in her arms and a stiff neck, her friends took Erin to the hospital early on one Tuesday morning. 

Four hours later, Erin was gone. She died two days before her 19th birthday. 

Regretfully, Cindy and her husband Tom did not get to the hospital in time to say goodbye.

The Krejnys learned that Erin did not have the flu, but that she died from meningitis.  They also learned it was preventable.  

"The fact that as a parent I didn't know there was a vaccine available.  And, it is a vaccine preventable disease," Cindy said. 

Now that is what Cindy wants others to know.

She joined the National Meningitis Association's Moms on Meningitis program.

Cindy now shares Erin's story with high school students, parents and community groups, trying to educate others about the dangers of meningitis. 

She even has a YouTube video explaining the importance of getting vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adolescents get the meningitis vaccine. 

If that's missed, young people should be vaccinated before entering college. 

"College Freshmen living in dorms are at an increased risk of contracting meningitis," Cindy added.

For the past six years, Cindy and her husband have organized a golf outing in their daughter's memory.  

All proceeds go to the National Meningitis Association for awareness and educational materials. 

The 6th annual Erin Krejny Golf Outing will be at the Barberton Brookside Country Club on Aug. 10.  

"I feel good that I am sharing the message and maybe saving a life along the way," Cindy said.