Interview with Christian John Lillis of the

Peggy Lillis Foundation

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Podcast – Episode 19

March 13, 2018

Show Notes: 

From the Peggy Lillis Foundation

The Peggy Lillis Foundation (PLF) envisions a world where Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) are rare, survivable, and treatable. Our mission is to build a nationwide CDI awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates, and shaping policy.

PLF was founded in response to the shocking death of 56 year old Kindergarten teacher Peggy Lillis in 2010. Since then we have made tremendous strides in raising CDI awareness among the public, and building partnerships with people and families impacted by CDIs, the healthcare industry, public health leaders, and policy makers.

Our Work

PLF catalyzes awareness and advocacy to combat the growing U.S. epidemic of CDIs. Our strategic plan, Educating Nationally | Advocating Locally, focuses our work on three critical areas:

1.  Educate a National Audience on the web at, via the traditional and social media, by providing training to healthcare workers, distributing fact sheets, patient brochures, discussion guides, waiting room posters, symptoms and prevention wallet cards, and producing educational videos.


2. Empower C. diff Advocates by establishing an Advocates Council of CDI survivors and caregivers, and holding a two-day Summit to train members to lobby local officials, speak to the media, engage with healthcare providers and systems, and serve on state HAI advisory committees, and create opportunities to shape relevant federal and state policy, such as providing stock letters and petitions for citizens to send to elected officials.

3. Shape Public Policy including promoting laws to increase publicly available CDI data for hospitals, long-term care centers, and other  healthcare facilities; engaging existing federal- and state-level agencies, such as health departments, to increase CDI awareness, prevention, and reduction efforts; and rallying support for CDI-related federal legislation. 

The Threat of CDIs

C. diff is a spore-forming bacterium that infects the human gastrointestinal system.

Symptoms can range from diarrhea to serious and potentially fatal inflammation of the colon.

  • 500,000 C. diff causes almost half a million infections among Americans in a single year.

  • 29,000 In one year, 29,000 patients died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis of C. diff.

  • 24,400 Patients with C. diff infections incur an average cost of $24,400 per hospital stay.


Over the past five years, PLF has made significant strides in building a nationwide C.

diff awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates and shaping policy.

Just a few of our accomplishments:

Educated a National Audience PLF developed the first-ever CDI public service announcement, already viewed more than 50,000 times, launched the first patient-focused website for CDI sufferers and caregivers, and presented to healthcare workers across the nation.

Increased CDI Awareness Peggy’s story has appeared in numerous publications, including USA Today, the Associated Press, Reuters,  and in Dr. Martin Blaser’s book, Missing Microbes. PLF has published editorials in Albany Times Union, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and the Baltimore Sun.

Empowered Advocates PLF launched our Advocates Council of CDI survivors and caregivers, committed to building a truly national movement while acting locally to raise awareness and save lives. We are hosting the first-ever C. diff Advocates Summit in August 2015 to provide members with training and support.

Shaped Public Policy Peggy’s story has been featured in congressional and senate testimony by Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden. PLF has collaborated with the CDC to raise awareness of CDIs in children, support federal action to cut CDIs and preserve antibiotics, and our executive director recently participated in the White House Summit on Antibiotic Stewardship.

Get Involved

PLF works with a wide spectrum of individuals impacted by CDIs, as well as physicians, healthcare workers, allied nonprofits, corporate partners, and policy makers. To learn how you can join our movement, visit or contact our executive director, Christian John Lillis at

Other ways to connect:

Social media - @peggyfound