In 1992, God blessed us with our first child, a beautiful, healthy, little angel, a little girl. We named her Sara and she was perfect. Thinking back to the year, 1992, it seemed that everything in our lives was perfect. We had a healthy child, a loving relationship, professional careers, money in the bank, cars, a home that was almost mortgage free, and other material possessions that we had worked hard for and took pride in.
My pregnancy was great and we wanted to be the best parents we could be to our precious baby daughter. Of course, this meant taking our baby regularly to a pediatrician for checkups, which included vaccinations, which we believed, were mandatory. Being good, responsible parents, we faithfully took Sara for her vaccinations literally to the day they were “required” to be done. These vaccinations occurred at age 2, 4, 6, 15 and 18 months.
The 2, 4, 6 and 18-month vaccinations were for DPT (Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus), HIB (Haemophilus Influenza Type “B”) and OPV (Oral Polio). The 15-month needle was the MMR (Measles/Mumps/Rubella). I had read continuously while pregnant a number of pregnancy and baby books, like a lot of expectant mothers do. I had never read anything negative or alarming about vaccination, only to expect a fever, some irritability and a slight rash at the injection site. These minor reactions seemed harmless enough and didn’t warrant for us to do any research in this matter as we felt that there was no reason to question vaccination.
To make a long story short, we submitted Sara for the appropriate checkups, which included vaccinations. After each one of these vaccinations, within about two hours of receiving the needle, Sara would begin to cry inconsolably. This was not just regular crying, it was almost like screaming and nothing we could do would console her, except to take her for a lengthy car ride, after all else failed. If we would try to hold her in order to comfort her, she would arch her back and scream even harder. She would also get a fever, and bad rashes on her bottom following each of her vaccinations.
Sara would always “appear” to recover after each one of these episodes, and we would always tell the pediatrician about what Sara did following each needle at her next appointment for vaccination. He never was concerned about her reactions, so we continued to vaccinate our daughter. Also, we were never made aware of any risks involving vaccination.
Little did we know that Sara’s life and our lives were going to change forever when our daughter received her booster needle when she was exactly 18 months of age.
As usual, the day Sara received her 18-month booster for DPT HIB & OPV on December 18, 1993, she reacted as she had the previous occasions with the crying, fever and rashes. However, this time, we noticed that Sara slept for an unusually long period of time. In the days following this vaccination, we noticed that Sara did not seem to be herself, she became very quiet and seemed sad all the time.
Christmas is a very hard time of year for our family as that is when Sara had her most traumatic screaming episode. That Christmas Eve day in 1993, a few days following her needle, she became very ill, vomiting, lethargic, no appetite, very dark circles under her eyes and her eyes themselves seemed lifeless, very dark. She had a fever and the rash on her bottom. We could not take her out for the annual family Christmas celebration, as Sara was too sick. On Boxing Day, 1993, she was still sick and late in the afternoon that day, went behind our bar in the rec room and began to scream and scream over and over again, continuously. I cannot even begin to describe how the scream sounded, as it sends chills up my spine to this day, it was so terrible, we will never forget it as long as we live. It was high pitched, screaming, that went on continuously. Sara was holding her head as if she was in indescribable pain and agony. I remember standing there and saying to my husband it was like she was “possessed”. She would not let us even come near her, which was very uncharacteristic for her.
Finally, we were able to get her dressed and in the car to take her to the Children’s Hospital. She fell asleep en route to the hospital and upon arriving, she woke up and “appeared” to be fine. We kept describing to the attending doctors what had happened to Sara as we were very scared and wanted an explanation for what would cause her to behave like this. We were at the hospital for a long time, and finally, they sent us home with antibiotics to treat an ear infection? We did not believe this, as Sara had never had an ear infection before. It was like they had to tell us something because we kept questioning why our daughter screamed like that. When we went to our pediatrician two days later, he checked her ears, and said that she did not have an ear infection? So what really happened!
Sara was never the same after her 18-month needle and the screaming episode on Boxing Day, 1993. She immediately stopped talking after the screaming episode and reverted back to babbling. She had about 25 words and was on the verge of 2 – 3 word sentences, and could answer questions before this happened. We were told that this regression in her language was “just a phase” and being first time parents, we believed it. In the days, weeks and months that followed that 18 month needle, we noticed that Sara would not give anyone eye contact anymore, she was no longer the sociable, happy little girl she once was. She did not want to play with or be around any children, or adults anymore, Gradually, she started to engage in repetitive and stereotypical behaviors such as hand flapping, tapping objects and toys against her mouth, staring at objects closely. She no longer played with her her toys appropriately and she would not sit still, and her sleep patterns were really off. Sara seemed like she was in her own little world.
Sara would later be diagnosed with having a Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD), which is borderline autism. We were completely devastated.
We kept questioning our pediatrician and the “experts” about how could our once normal, social, happy and vocal toddler change so dramatically at the age of 18 months and were suspicious of this happening within days of receiving her 18-month needle. We kept asking if they’re as a connection between Sara’s vaccination and her autistic-like behaviors. We were re-assured that there was absolutely no connection, but were never given any explanation why our daughter suddenly became autistic-like. We were told that it was “just a coincidence” that Sara changed so dramatically in the days following her 18-month booster. We naively thought that the doctors would admit to us what really happened to Sara and then would try and help her. This was not the case.
Since then, we discovered through extensive research what the real risks are regarding vaccines. We were able to obtain books and videos, which were not readily available at your local library or bookstore. We were astounded, saddened and angry when we reviewed these books and videos in which stories almost identical to Sara’s were repeated over and over again, but with other parents and their children. We were especially shocked at how may stories detailed how once normal children suddenly “became autistic” between the ages of 12 – 18 months following either MMR or DPT vaccination. We discovered that vaccine damage is not as rare as some in the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies would like us, the general public to know.
Our daughter, Sara has had to endure extensive testing. She has been subjected to MRI scans, painful spinal taps, EEG’s, and an enormous amount of blood work. We were able to verify our suspicions that Sara was brain injured due to her repeated vaccinations. We had to take her out of Canada, at great expense, in order to do so, and were able to verify that Sara was suffering from “post-vaccinal encephalitis” (brain inflammation) and demyelination. Later, one of the doctors involved, told us that the swelling and pain that Sara felt in her brain was similar to being hit over the had with a baseball bat. This would explain the crying and screaming episodes Sara had experienced.
Remember our once perfect lives … well, now we are left holding the bag. We have a brain injured child. Our once paid for home had to be re-mortgaged. Our once solid relationship has experienced a lot of ups and downs due to the realities of raising a “special needs” child and the heartache involving the nightmarish reality of this situation and the expenses related to it.
Ironically, it is through this experience, that we have been privileged to meet some very special people right here in Winnipeg, and around the world who have come together to help our family.
As a result of our research and the evidence we had accumulated from many sources verifying Sara’s brain injury due to vaccination, we decided to pursue this matter legally and obtain some justice for Sara. However, in order to even file this type of a lawsuit, we were told we would have to raise an enormous amount of money. We could not afford to do this by ourselves as we had pretty much exhausted all of our funds to try and help Sara.
Fortunately for us, we became aware of a number of very special, caring people right here in Winnipeg. The founders of the Winnipeg chapter of the Association for Vaccination Damaged Children, Mary James and Leona Rew have been extremely supportive and caring. It is through attending the Association’s monthly meetings, we met a wonderful, caring chiropractor, Dr. Gerry Bohemier, who listened to our story and agreed to help us. Dr. Bohemier is passionate about informing parents and the general public about the potentially serious consequences suffered by children and adults following vaccination. Dr. Bohemier subsequently introduced us to a group of chiropractors who also questioned vaccination, and felt that we had a strong legal case and wanted to help us raise the necessary funds to pursue our case.
This special core of people, who were complete strangers to us previously, have been instrumental in the creation of the Eagle Foundation. And it due to their extraordinary dedication and tireless efforts that we were even able to file our lawsuit. These people have given of their own time and money and helped us and we are still trying to find a way to adequately express our gratitude and appreciation. Due to their tireless efforts, the initial fundraising was a success and enabled us to file our lawsuit in December, 1995, approximately two years after Sara’s 18-month DPT needle.
One family is extremely grateful for the support we have received, both financial and emotional from the chiropractors here in Manitoba, and from other caring chiropractors across Canada. Donations and support have also come in from families across Canada and indeed, worldwide, who have also experienced the tragic realities of vaccine damage and death.
We thank you for taking the time to read Sara’s story and hope you will tell others so that possibly another child or another family does not have to suffer like ours has. Yet, even through all of this, we believe Sara is a very special little girl … an angel who has brought us the TRUTH, in more ways than one!
Gloria and Lawrence Dignazio
Parents of Sara
NOTE: Our legal case to try and obtain justice for Sara is still in the “discovery” stages. We are suing both the pediatrician, Dr. Sam Weizman and the vaccine manufacturer, Connaught Laboratories. This story was originally written in January, 1997, some minor revisions have been made. Sara is now 10 years old.
Update 2015: Sara is now 23 years of age. The family struggled to find justice for their daughter but they ended litigation after 10 long years of legal battles and the case was dismissed in 2007. Sara’s mother, Gloria Dignazio, is still active in trying to obtain justice for her daughter, Sara, and always has the hope that justice will finally one day prevail in this case.