Family urges 'wear white for William' weeks after son's death by - FOX Carolina 21

Family urges 'wear white for William' weeks after son's death by bacterial meningitis

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William Thompson, 12, died from bacterial meningitis Jan. 30, 2017 (Courtesy: Bill Thompson) William Thompson, 12, died from bacterial meningitis Jan. 30, 2017 (Courtesy: Bill Thompson)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Bill Thompson's son William died of bacterial meningitis last January after complaining of severe head and neck pain. Now, his family is working to raise awareness about the illness that struck his son. 

Thompson and his family have asked patrons of the Masters golf tournament to "Wear White for William." His son was an avid golf fan and loved watching the Masters on Apr. 5. He attended school in Pickens County and was a sixth grader at Gettys Middle. 

"We just want to raise awareness that it's serious," said Thompson of bacterial meningitis. "It can take your loved one away from you. Know the signs, know the symptoms, educate yourself, talk to your doctor," Thompson said. 

Doctor David Brancati at Greenville's Emergency MD said bacterial meningitis symptoms can include severe headache, photosensitivity, neck stiffness and purple rashes on the skin. 

He said anyone experiencing those symptoms should check into an emergency facility. He added there is a vaccine for bacterial meningitis, but it is not 100 percent preventable even if one has been vaccinated. He said weak immune systems and other factors can put anyone at risk. 

Celebrities like Andie McDowell are also getting in on the "Wear White for William" movement. In a Facebook video, McDowell said she would be wearing white Wednesday, Apr. 5, in honor of William Thompson. 

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