BY ANA MENDIETA - STAFF REPORTER
A young soldier from the south suburbs died of a mysterious illness before she could fulfill her dream of serving her country on the front lines.
Rachael A. Lacy, a 22-year-old Army
"Rachael left home a healthy young
woman, and she became sick shortly after she received her inoculations,'' said
her father, Moses Lacy, who buried his daughter Wednesday in
An Army spokeswoman at
Lacy's father said she developed what doctors first thought
was a cold or a minor reaction to inoculations about five weeks ago. Her
condition worsened, she did not respond to treatment for pneumonia and doctors
looked further, even calling a specialist from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention in
"They were just guessing; they had no idea,'' Moses Lacy said.
He said when his daughter could not breathe
unaided and had an extremely high fever, weakness, headaches and nausea, she
was taken from the military hospital to hospitals in nearby
Rachael Lacy died there two days later. Her father said he was then told she might have suffered from the immune disorder lupus, and her condition could have been caused by the smallpox vaccination.
Rachael Lacy joined the Army Reserves in
1998 after graduating from
She was a "fanatic" when it came
to her health and she exercised regularly, her father said. "All she kept
telling me is, 'I want to get better because I want to go with my unit.' I
would like the 452nd unit to know that although my daughter did not die in the
Contributing: Brenda Warner Rotzoll