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Babylon ride honors Marist College student

Caitlin Boyle felt sick for just one full day before she died of a rare strain of meningitis in the fall of 2005.

Boyle was a junior at Marist College in Poughkeepsie when she contracted meningitis B, the only strain of the infection resistant to vaccines, said her mother Eileen Boyle, adding that Caitlin had been vaccinated.

The Babylon woman who is a registered nurse said her daughter complained of severe headaches and worsening symptoms throughout the day before she was rushed to the hospital at 2 a.m. By 5 a.m. her family was by her side, and later that day, Caitlin was gone.

They buried her at St. Joseph’s Parish Cemetery in West Babylon on Nov. 21, what would have been her 20th birthday.

“Now, awareness is my mission,” said Eileen Boyle, who now works as an aerobics instructor at Fitness Incentive in Babylon. “I’m an RN and I didn’t know you could get meningitis with the vaccine.”

On Sunday, the Boyle family will hold the sixth annual Caitlin Ann Boyle Memorial Bike Ride, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Babylon Memorial Grade School, 169 Park Ave.

The family asks for a $20 donation per rider and raises money through raffles at the event. Proceeds are split between The Meningitis Foundation and a memorial scholarship established at Marist College. Last year, the six-mile ride raised $7,000, Eileen Boyle said.

She said hundreds of people typically show up for the rain-or-shine ride around Belmont Lake. Registration is not required.

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