Mission: To save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Family Stories

The Gonzales Family

FFF Advocate:
Frank and Sharon Gonzales (father and mother)
Place of Residence:
El Paso, TX
Date of Death:
October 29, 2009
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Brandon Gonzales

Brandon lost his life to H1N1 influenza.


Brandon’s Flu Illness
On Saturday, October 24, 2009, healthy, happy 9-year-old Brandon Gonzales ran from the go-carts to the bumper boats to the video games at his favorite pizza place. But, the next day after eating a sandwich he started vomiting. It soon stopped and he felt well enough to go to school the following day. When he returned home from school he was sneezing and feeling congested, but otherwise seemed normal. Shortly thereafter, Brandon started to complain of a scratchy throat.

On that Tuesday, when he came home from school he started coughing and said he was tired. The next day his parents kept him home from school and took him to the pediatrician. The doctor seemed to be in a hurry and only listened to Brandon’s chest. He then said Brandon had congestion and prescribed him cortisone.

Flu Hospitalization 
Once his mother got Brandon home he became lethargic. An hour later his temperature spiked to 103 degrees and he became delirious. Brandon’s parents rushed him to the emergency room. There the doctor took chest x-rays, which showed that both of Brandon’s lungs were 80 percent filled with fluid. His oxygen level was also at 43 percent. He was immediately put on a ventilator and a team of nurses and doctors surrounded him throughout the night and into the next morning. The pediatric staff announced that he was stable. At that moment Brandon opened his eyes briefly and responded as his mother and father spoke to him.

A Sudden Death
30 minutes later his kidneys failed and the rest of his organs shut down. At 12:46 p.m. on October 29, 2009, Brandon lost his life to H1N1 influenza.

The Importance of Flu Vaccination
Brandon’s parents wanted to get Brandon and his brother Evan vaccinated but it wasn’t yet available. In the years before Brandon passed away, if their pediatrician didn’t have the shot, they went to a pharmacy. Unfortunately,  despite trying to find the vaccine for a little over a month, Brandon died before he could get vaccinated.  Now, Brandon’s parents and little brother get vaccinated against the flu every year. In memory of Brandon, his parents produced a public service announcement about the seriousness of influenza and the importance of being educated about the disease.

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