By: Christian John Lillis
We live among bacteria. And bacteria live on and within us. In fact, we rely on bacteria for aid in digestion, keeping our skin healthy and our metabolism functioning. But certain bacteria or too much of certain bacteria can cause us grievous harm. Our family learned that the hard way, when in April 2010, a Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection took hold in our mother, Peggy. Following her taking the antibiotic Clindamycin as prescribed by her dentist after a root canal, C. diff, unseen and untreated, rapidly developed into a deadly infection that ultimately took her life.
Over the past ten years, the Peggy Lillis Foundation (PLF) has become the preeminent, nationally recognized leader for C. diff patient advocacy and public education. At the center of our vision to make C. diff rare, treatable and survivable are the affected patients and their caregivers. PLF has over 900 C. diff survivors and their families active in our work.
To commemorate “C. diff Awareness Month”, PLF is proud to launch a national education campaign, See C. diff, to raise awareness of this preventable but all too often deadly infection. Though C. diff is the most common healthcare-associated infection – killing more Americans each year than HIV/AIDS – only 30% of Americans have ever heard of it. PLF wants everyone to See C. diff.
Through See C. diff, PLF and its partners seek to raise awareness of C. diff infection, its risk factors, symptoms and treatments. Through an array of online, print, paid and earned media, PLF is partnering with leading nonprofits, professional associations, industry leaders and our own growing network of C. diff survivors and caregivers to reach the 70% of Americans who don’t yet know that C. diff is a potential threat.
As we educate patients, caregivers, and health care providers about the hidden danger of C. diff, live saving information will reach the public. Amplifying the voices of survivors and caregivers is central to making C. diff real to those at risk. PLF knows from nearly a decade at the forefront of combating this infection, that when we see C. diff as a threat to our
spouse, parent, neighbor or child we can dispel the lasting myths about C. diff, and finally, prevent and treat it properly.
See C. diff comes at a pivotal time for the fight against this preventable but too often deadly and disabling disease. While hospital acquired C. diff infections have declined somewhat,the disease is increasingly found in the community and among populations considered low risk. This makes broad public awareness, particularly among family healthcare decision-makers, all the more important.
It has been nearly 10 years since we lost Peggy to C. diff, and not a day goes by that I do not miss her. Join us in honoring her life and the lives of hundreds of thousands who have suffer unnecessarily from a C. diff infection every year. Help us spread the word about our SEE C. DIFF campaign and take one or all of the steps below.
Together, we can help everyone see C. diff.