Meningitis Storyline Hits Home for Galen Gering

07/27/2009 at 08:00 AM ET
Roger Karnbad/Celebrity

When Days of Our Lives star Galen Gering‘s character Rafael Hernandez had to say goodbye to baby Grace due to meningitis, no one knew how close to home it hit for the father of two.

Shortly after Galen’s second son Jensen arrived last July, “the doctors came to us at 2:30 in the morning to inform us they had to take a spinal tap because they worried he might have meningitis,” the actor explains. “So I had already been through this entire frickin’ drill already. As hard as it was to film those scenes, it was also easy because I had lived through this horrific storyline in real life.”

The former Passions star knows that daytime storylines can sometimes be “fantastical,” but says baby Grace’s death “made sense and felt very real” to him. “It was definitely heavy stuff,” Galen, 38, said of the filming. “That week, I didn’t talk to anyone — I just hung out in my dressing room. A couple of times after work, I would just sit in my car for an hour before entering my house.”

Thankfully Jensen, who turned one on July 17th, is “alive and healthy” says his relieved dad.

Galen and wife Jenna are also parents to son Dillon Phoenix, 3 next week.

Source: TV Guide Canada

— Angela

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Holly on

I am so happy he’s ok, it is too bad that had to happen. I am happy that Jensen is alive and a-ok.😉

Tanya on

Do you think he called his son Jensen inspired by earlier Days actor Jensen Ackles?

Dee Dee Werner on

I am sorry that you had to go thru this horrible event in your life but I am glad that everyting worked out well. For us, the ending was not as pretty. Our 20 yr old daughter, Becky died of meningitis when she was 20 years old only 39 hours after complaining of flu-like symptoms. It has been five years but the hurt and pain feel like it was yesterday. I am glad a story was written so all could see the devastation that meningitis leaves behind. Death isn’t the only thing that can happen, children (and adults) can be left with amputated limbs, seizures, blindness, deafnes just to name a few. Our message – vaccinate your child and help protect others as well!!

Frankie Milley on

Dear Rafael:
I am so sorry you had to go to this trauma. I am thankful your little one is well.

I am the mother of an only child, Ryan, who died from of meningococcal meningitis and the founder and executive director of a national organization, Meningitis Angels,

Too many infants, teens, kids and young adults are left debilitated or die from this vaccine preventable disease.

What is meningitis?
Meningitis is a dangerous and sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord that can leave survivors with serious life-long physical problems such as, organ failure, blindness, deafness, loss of limbs, severe seizures, brain damage and other disabilities.
You should also understand meningococcemia and sepsis.

Signs and Symptoms
The early signs of meningitis and blood poisoning which could improve detection of the disease and save lives are unrelenting fever, leg pain, cold hands and feet and abnormal skin color can develop within (12 hours) after infection long before the more classic signs of the illness such as a rash, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light and impaired consciousness, debilitation or death. Anyone can get meningitis especially infants, children and teens.

What parents and students should know:
According to ACIP/CDC children ages (11) years through college freshmen should be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis. The current vaccines are approved for ages (2) years and older. However be informed, there are (5) sero-groups of the disease, all sero-groups are not covered. However the most common in the United States are sero-groups C Y, W135 and A which are.

Infants and toddlers should be vaccinated against pneumococcal and HIB meningitis.
Those children in daycare and those of American Indian, Eskimo and African American heritage are at a higher risk for some forms of meningitis.

There are no vaccines to prevent viral meningitis.

Frankie Milley, Meningitis Angels, Founder/National Director

Gail Bailey on

My 20-year old son, Edward J. Bailey (Eddy), had his precious life snuffed out by Type C meningitis. He had everything to live for and had been asked to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship while he was studying in college at the Univ. of Wisconsin in Madison. He loved to learn so very much; he read all the time. And it is so utterly ironic that this disease struck Eddy’s brain also. I am so glad your baby survived. I hope you can help all the parents to learn about this disease, and we try to do the best we can to educate other parents also. There is so much heartache in this world caused by this disease, and it hits young people in the prime of their lives. I cannot wait until the scientists can figure out why some are so susceptible to this disease while others are not. Please spread the word too about the vaccine and love your littles one with all you have. Gail

Lou on

How awful, glad everything turned out OK.

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