Sister of EEE Victim Warns SouthCoast to Take Threat Seriously
As SouthCoast communities elevated their local EEE threat risk to "critical" this past weekend, Wareham's Michelle Fitzgerald relived a lot of pain.
"It brings you back to the first days when my brother got sick and they were trying to determine what was wrong with him," she said. "The fear, and the uncertainty, it was horrible. My heart really goes out to that family."
The longtime Roby's Gas employee was referring to the family of the 60-year-old Rochester man that is fighting for his life after contracting EEE.
Her brother, Jeff Fuller, recently passed away after more than an eight-year fight that began when the extremely rare virus caused brain damage.
Michelle wanted to come onto the Rock and Fox Show to make one thing clear.
"The state keeps putting out information saying that people over 50 and under 15 are more at risk for having the EEE be fatal, but my brother was a 43-year-old, 6-foot, 250-pound hulk of a man, and that mosquito took him out like nothing," she said.
We live in a time where every storm is the "storm of the century" and every snowfall is a "blizzard." Media hypes up a lot, but Michelle is pleading with the public to take this threat seriously.
"It's just not worth the risk," she said. "If anybody endured, or saw, or lived through what my family lived through, they would never, ever put any other person at risk ever again."
When he passed away in May, Jeff left behind his wife, Maureen, his 17-year-old son, Ben, and his 13-year-old daughter, Shannon.
Jeff was an avid recreational tuna fisherman. He worked as a machinist for the Draper Company, a textile mill in Canton.
"They called 'the fixer'", Michelle laughed, "because he could fix anything."
Michelle's biggest fear is that this one case out of Rochester is just going to be the beginning. She questions why the state took so long to act on the positive tests that they were seeing for EEE mosquitos back in July.