The questions are endless and the emotions will forever be raw, but Mabel Chan keeps coming back to one word - preventable.
Chan buried her 19-yearold son Leo in January after he contracted the Y strain of meningitis.
In what was an extremely emotional interview with The NOW Tuesday, Mabel is calling attention to her son's life and untimely death this week for two reasons: to support a Coquitlam-based notice of motion calling for free meningitis vaccines in B.C. and to highlight a celebration of Leo's life planned for this weekend at Lafarge Lake.
"I'm never going to get him back physically," Mabel said. "But I don't want any other mother to know the suffering and the pain I have. I know Leo would want us to tell other parents. He would want us to tell all the young people to get protected."
Currently, school-aged children are offered vaccination protecting against only the C strain of the bacterial infection.
"The C strain has been suppressed because all these kids are getting [vaccinated]," Mabel said. "But all these other strains spike, because when one gets suppressed, the others spike."
Because of that gap, Coun. Neal Nicholson introduced a motion that received unanimous support at Monday's council meeting.
The motion calls on the province to reconsider its policies around administering meningitis vaccines, specifically the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which is commonly referred to as MCV4. That vaccine protects against four strains of meningitis: A, C, W-135 and Y.
The motion also asks the province to "provide details of that reconsideration and its results" to the public and to Coquitlam council.
"We've suffered the preventable deaths of too many people in our community and across the province," Nicholson said Monday.
Chan's death in January was preceded by another loss of a young person - just 15 at the time - Dr. Charles Best Secondary student Brodie Campbell died of meningitis in 2007.
"It is the mandate of our province right now to put families first," said a visibly emotional Coun. Linda Reimer on Monday.
"I know of two families in our community that have been devastated by this disease, and I don't want to see any more."
Most prevalent among those between the ages of 12 and 27, meningitis is a bacterial infection that inflames the lining of the spinal cord or brain.
With symptoms similar to the flu - a high fever, nausea, muscle aches and a sore neck - the infection spreads quickly and can kill an otherwise healthy person within 24 to 48 hours.
And while the vaccine is available for about $75 in B.C., it is offered for free in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and in the Northwest Territories.
A tree-planting ceremony honouring Leo Chan's life is slated for 9: 30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Lafarge Lake.