Insights on Influenza Blog
Mission: To save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.

Family Stories

The emotional stories of families whose lives have been permanently altered by the flu.

Our family stories put a face on the flu and illustrate why we’re so driven in our mission. Flu is a serious disease and we are all at risk, regardless of age, gender, health status, ethnicity, or lifestyle. We share these emotional family stories to educate others about the importance of flu prevention and annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older.

Here you’ll learn about various stories such as a four-year-old girl who went to bed with mild flu-like symptoms, never to wake up; a six-month-old baby boy who died only 30 hours after showing his first symptoms of being sick; and a 33-year-old woman who survived flu, but was hospitalized for three months and suffered an amputation above the knee as a result of her illness.

Our Stories...

The Allen Family

Madi was a healthy 12-year-old athlete before she spent a total of 93 days in the hospital recovering from her near-death experience with flu.

Read Madi’s story
The Andersen Family

Brittany’s infection with Influenza A started with a sore throat but rapidly escalated to every parent’s worst nightmare.

Read Britt’s story
The Booth Family

Austin’s parents wish they could rewind to before their nightmare began. The first thing they would do is get their children and themselves vaccinated against the flu.

Read Austin’s story
The Byerman Family

Bryerlee became hypoxic due to flu, which restricted her body from getting oxygen to her brain, liver, and other organs.

Read Bryerlee's story
The Cargile Family

Maya’s mother knows that a flu vaccine could have prevented their horrible ordeal.

Read Maya’s story
The Chandler Family

Chance's family did not know that the vaccine changes annually and, as such, people need to get vaccinated every year.

Read Chance's story
The Cover Family

Three days after first exhibiting symptoms, the flu virus caused Elizabeth's lungs to fill with blood in a complication known as bi-lateral pneumonia.

Read Elizabeth's story
The Craft Family

Chelsea was not vaccinated against H1N1 because at the time the vaccine was not available in her community.

Read Chelsea's Story
The Crane Family

Blake's parents did not know that people can die from flu until their 16-year-old son tragically passed away.

Read Blake's story
The D’Imperio Family

James had not been vaccinated against the flu because at the time the CDC did not recommend that children his age get vaccinated. Now, every year, James’ whole family gets vaccinated against the flu.

Read James's Story
The Darling Family

Isabella was a healthy teenager whose flu illness damaged her lungs, leading to a double lung transplant.

Read Isabella's story
The Das Family

Anakin was born 10 weeks premature as a result of his mother contracting influenza while pregnant. He now suffers from chronic lung disease.

Read Anakin's story
The Drapeau Family

Amiah was just 4-years-old when she developed pneumonia and sepsis, which were brought on by the influenza B virus.

Read Amiah's story
The Duvall Family

Luke was a healthy 15-year-old athlete who spent 12 days in a coma and 30 days in the hospital with flu.

Read Luke's Story
The Estlinbaum Family

Saying goodbye to Tony was something his parent’s hearts couldn’t or wouldn’t prepare for.

Read Tony's Story
The Fulweiler Family

At 40 years old, Nick was an active, healthy father whose flu illness resulted in a life-threatening hospitalization for 28 days, rehabilitation, and lifelong medical complications.

Read Nick's story
The Gonzales Family

Brandon lost his life to H1N1 influenza. Brandon was not vaccinated against the flu.

Read Brandon's Story
The Gorenstein Family

Nate's asthma exacerbated his flu illness, leading to respiratory arrest and a 12-day stay in the hospital.

Read Nate's Story
The Hall Family

Shari was a healthy mom and wife whose flu illness led to 41 days in the ICU and multiple amputations.

Read Shari's story
The Hauver Family

Will's flu illness progressed to diabetic ketoacidosis, causing him to lose his life in less than three days.

Read Will's story
The Haynes Family

Latasha was a healthy, active 34-year-old when what seemed like a simple illness turned into pneumonia and congestive heart failure brought on by the flu virus.

Read Latasha's story
The Henderson Family

Elijah died from influenza just two days after showing his first symptom. He was not vaccinated against the flu.

Read Elijah's Story
The Hinderliter Family

Charlie was a healthy 38-year-old whose flu illness put him in the hospital for 58 days.

Read Charlie's story
The Holt Family

Joey had not been vaccinated against H1N1 because at the time the vaccine was not available in his community.

Read Joey's Story
The Hunt Family

Amy lost her life to secondary complications caused by the influenza virus. She had not been vaccinated because it was not recommended by her family's doctor.

Read Amy's story
The Jackson Family

This tragedy has made Marques’ mother and grandfather crusaders for yearly influenza vaccinations.

Read Marques' Story
The Kanowitz Family

Amanda seemed to have a typical virus, but within 48 hours she was found lifeless in her bed.

Read Amanda's Story
The Lastinger Family

After she was bathed and dressed for the doctor’s office, Emily laid down in her parents’ bed to rest. She was found lifeless 15 minutes later.

Read Emily's Story
The Lin Family

Trevor had not been vaccinated against H1N1 influenza because at the time the vaccine was not available in his community.

Read Trevor's Story
The Lowery Family

Piper had not been vaccinated against the flu because she did not like needles. Piper’s mother, Pegy, is now an active advocate for annual flu vaccinations.

Read Piper's Story
The Mann-O'Brien Family

Kendra was a 35-year-old mother of two when she lost her life to flu.

Read Kendra's Story
The Marotta Family

Joseph had not been vaccinated against H1N1 influenza because at the time the vaccine was not available in his community.

Read Joseph's Story
The McCarthy Family

What seemed like a little “bug” that caused Ayzlee to feel achy with a fever turned into her struggling for breath and fighting for her life.

Ready Ayzlee's story
The McCormick Family

Ashley’s doctors had a hard time finding a hospital that had an available ECMO machine because it was the peak of the flu season and they were all being used.

Read Ashley's story
The McGowan Family

Martin died of complications from influenza just 24 hours after his first symptom appeared.

Read Martin's Story
The McKinley-Rosen Family

Christopher had a sudden onset of Influenza B, which caused him to lose his ability to sit, crawl, walk, run, eat, and drink independently.

Read Christopher's story
The Miller Family

Allison nearly lost her life to secondary flu complications, which included amputation of her left leg above the knee.

Read Allison's story
The Miller Family

Caroline had been vaccinated against the flu every year. The one year her parents forgot, she ended up hospitalized with flu.

Read Caroline's story
The Mitchell Family

As a result of her flu illness, Christa developed pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and septic shock, which led to the loss of her fingers and toes.

Read Christa's story
The Moise Family

Ian died of complications from Influenza A approximately 30 hours after he showed his first symptom of being sick.

Read Ian's story
The Neiman-Brown Family

JJ was a healthy two-year-old whose life was taken by flu in less than 24 hours.

Read JJ's story
The Northrop Family

As Liza's body tried to fight off her flu infection, her lungs became stiff and brittle, until they blew apart from what is known as pneumothorax.

Read Liza's story
The Nuland Family

Jacob’s mother knows that the vaccine may have saved his life – it may have given Jacob just enough protection to get through it.

Read Jacob's story
The Palmer Family

Breanne died in her mother’s arms on December 23, 2003 from influenza A.

Read Breanne's Story
The Pena Family

Reese's mother thought the flu vaccine was optional since it is not always required. This one decision not to vaccinate her daughter forever changed her entire family’s life.

Read Reese's story
The Peters Family

Brittney was a happy, healthy child with no history of chronic illness. Prior to her death, no one suggested that Brittney receive a flu vaccine.

Read Brittney's story
The Pisani Family

Today, Antonio is a healthy child who gets vaccinated against influenza every year, as does his entire family.

Read Antonio's story
The Pulgini Family

Cecilia was a healthy 45-year-old woman before she lost her life to flu after eight agonizing days in the hospital.

Read Cecilia's story
The Rasmussen Family

Paul was a healthy 57-year-old who had never before gotten the flu. He didn't realize his first flu illness could kill him. 

Read Paul's story
The Rogers Family

Jewel was hospitalized for over three months with complications of H1N1 flu. She still suffers flu-related complications to this day.

Read Jewel's story
The Romero Family

Madison passed away from flu after her heart stopped beating for the fourth time.

Read Madison's story
The Schwolert Family

Max was a healthy, 17-year-old athlete whose life was tragically cut short by flu.

Read Max's story
The Sidari Family

Leon was healthy and vibrant. But that didn't keep him from dying on Christmas morning, only two days after showing general flu symptoms.

Read Leon's story
The Smith Family

In less than 48 hours, flu took the life of bubbly, joyous 3-year-old Cayden.

Read Cayden's story
The Smith Family

In the blink of an eye, a parent’s worst nightmare became the Smith’s reality.

Read Noel's story
The Spencer Family

Within just minutes of arriving at the hospital, the staff called a “code blue” because Julianna’s heart had stopped beating. 

Read Julianna's story
The Splan Family

The flu attacked Emma's heart, causing her to lose her life at just 6 years old.

Read Emma's story
The Stein Family

When 4-year-old Jessica's heart stopped beating doctors attempted to revive her, but were unsuccessful.

Read Jessica's story
The Swenson Family

Josiah was hospitalized with flu during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read Josiah's Story
The Teichman Family

Brent was a vibrant and healthy 29-year-old chef who died just four hours after seeking medical care.

Read Brent's story
The Tsoumbakos Family

For many months after contracting the flu, Ayla required a wheelchair and had difficulty walking unassisted.

Read Ayla's story
The Vlasman Family

Marty spent six weeks in a coma due to flu. His heart stopped three times, his kidneys failed, and he lost over 100 pounds. He still stuffers with chronic health complications.

Read Marty's story
The Wehrkamp Family

Her family wants everyone to know how serious the flu can be, even for healthy children like Gianna.

Read Gianna's story
The Yaksich Family

Within 24 hours of her arrival at the local hospital, Alana died of flu-related complications that caused swelling and injury to her brain.

Read Alana's story
The Zabel Family

Kayauna was a healthy 20-year-old whose died from a flu infection that caused multisystem organ failure. 

Read Kayauna's story

Page last reviewed: September 2021. 

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