Family channel grief to help students

Acadia student Carter Theriault receives his first meningitis B vaccination from a pharmacist at the BforKai launch event.

More than 120 students lined up to receive a free meningitis B vaccine on Friday, November 26 at Acadia University’s Sheldon L. Fountain Learning Commons. The potentially life-saving vaccination clinic and awareness launch were courtesy of the Matthews family. The deadly disease took their son Kai's life in June. He had just completed his first year at Acadia in kinesiology.

“The worst thing that happens to a university community is the loss of a student,” said Dr. Peter Ricketts, President and Vice-Chancellor, who met Kai virtually during orientation week. “What we are going to do is to channel that grief into a positive movement to make sure that we never, ever forget Kai Matthews.”

The Matthews family is fundraising to provide free vaccinations to Acadia students to prevent meningitis B. The clinic and program launch in November were the first steps in honouring Kai. There is also an awareness website, BforKai, and crowdfunding site to help cover the costs of the vaccination program and advocate for public health to encourage university-aged individuals to get the vaccination.

“Kai loved his time at Acadia,” said his father Norrie Matthews. “What we are doing is hard, but this day gives us strength to keep doing what we’re doing, and it feels really good at a time when we feel immense grief because of the loss of Kai.”

Thanks to the generosity of donors to BforKai and the Matthews family, Acadia students can now book a free meningitis B vaccine at the Acadia Student Health Centre. Two doses are required.

Watch the BforKai launch and vaccination clinic.

See photos from the BforKai launch event.

BforKai 2021

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