Calgary family remembers daughter lost to 1990 E. coli contraction
Published Friday, October 5, 2012 5:13PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, October 5, 2012 6:35PM MDT
The E. coli crisis is a tragic reminder for one Calgary family of the devastating impact the bacterial infection can have, even years later.
The recent E. coli outbreak is bringing back a lot of memories and emotions for the Lewis family.
“It definitely takes me back to when the girls got sick,” says Andrea Lewis-Mclaren.
One of Andrea’s daughters, 22-year old Alisha Lewis, died from complications from an E. coli infection, 20 years after she initially contracted the bacteria.
Alisha and her twin sister Aimee made national headlines back in 1990 when they, as 2-years-old, contracted the so-called hamburger disease as it was called then by sharing a cheeseburger from a fastfood restaurant.
Aimee recovered quickly, but Alisha's battle had just begun.
All of Alisha’s major organs were affected and she developed many painful medical conditions. At the age of 20, Alisha made the decision to end medical treatment. She passed away in the arms of her twin sister.
Alisha’s family is hoping their story will raise awareness about E.coli.
“Every time I hear about another child that gets E.coli my heart just sinks,” says Andrea Lewis-Mclaren. “I just hope they don't have to go through what we went through.”
“It was hard,” says Aimee Lewis. “I always wished I could take some of her pain away, but she was very strong.”
Prior to her death, Alisha planned her own funeral choosing everything from her casket, to the clothes she would wear and the music to be played.
Alisha passed away June 8, 2010, nearly 20 years after she contracted the bacteria.