Emily Grace Koenig will be remembered for her great personality and an inherent dedication to all that she tackled in life. “For the 12 years she graced us with her presence, she impacted many – her family, her teachers, and her many friends from schools, gymnastics, and summer camps. She was a positive, polite, thoughtful, and passionate child, both in her relationships with others and in her work ethics,” says her mother, Sue Koenig. “She had a big heart, an engaging smile, an embracing demeanor, and a keen sense of humor. She enjoyed learning, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. She was at the heart of many wonderful vacations in Ocean City, NJ, Hilton Head Island, NC, Marco Island, FL Disneyworld, FL, and Paris, France.”
While attending Villa Maria Academy in Malvern, Pa, she thrived as a student and developed a strong Christian faith. She was a vivacious, healthy seventh grader, a gymnast, and she dabbled at tennis, track, and lacrosse. In the 6th grade, she wrote and illustrated a special book, The Tallest Leprechaun, with an important message about the gifts that flow from embracing our differences. "Emily was driven to do well - academically, athletically and spiritually," says her father, Al Koenig.
On Dec. 7, 2002, she went shopping in a local nursery with her dad to buy plants for a school science project. She never completed the experiment. While in the store, another customer inadvertently sneezed on her, exposing her to a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis.
She died four days later with virtually no warning. Her symptoms started as a cold and then turned flu-like after a couple of days. The flu was going around and little did her parents or doctor know that in hours she would be dead. Later, when her father recalled the sneezing incident and associated its timing with that of the incubation period, he became painfully aware that a moment of being at the wrong place and the wrong time resulted in Emily’s death.
Emily's family started their fundraising efforts to educate people about bacterial meningitis and to provide seed money for research to fight this deadly disease. Since establishing the funds, the Koenig’s have successfully lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote the vaccination to younger children, like Emily, who previously were not recommended to receive the vaccine. The Koenigs continue to support efforts for bacterial meningitis awareness, vaccinations and research.
This December marks the 10-year anniversary of Emily's passing. The Koenig family, along with many friends of Emily, will hold a special fundraising event to celebrate Emily’s life on Sunday, December 30, 2012 at Whitford Country Club in Exton, PA. Please come join us in helping the Emily's Dash Foundation to accomplish its missions by raising funds to support the eradication of bacterial meningitis, promote anti-bullying & childhood literacy, and sustain leadership scholarships at Villa Maria Academy.