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Family Stories

The Hauver Family

FFF Advocate:
Lyndall Hauver (mother)
Place of Residence:
Baltimore, MD
Date of Death:
February 2, 2015
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Will was a young, successful college athlete who had a bright future. He was also a Type 1 diabetic. Will’s flu illness progressed to diabetic ketoacidosis, causing him to lose his life in less than three days.

Will was the picture of health as a young, 22-year-old man. Although he was a Type 1 diabetic, Will didn’t let that stop him from being a successful athlete who played college lacrosse. Amongst his many endearing qualities, Will was kind, creative, and pragmatic.

Will was initially diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 15 years old after falling ill. His symptoms included blurry vision, dehydration, and nausea. Will’s mother, Lyndall, consulted his doctor and explained his symptoms, and it was determined that Will was likely suffering from a virus. When he became increasingly sick throughout the day, it suddenly occurred to Lyndall that Will’s symptoms were eerily similar to those described in a People magazine story she had just read about Nick Jonas, who had been recently diagnosed with T1D. Later that day, Lyndall took Will to the hospital where his blood sugar registered around 800, and he was eventually diagnosed with T1D.

Will learned to handle his diabetes quite well and his parents did not restrict his life as a result. Will eventually came under the care of an adult endocrinologist, who taught him how to continue living an active lifestyle. For his college career, Will chose to go to Florida, which was about 16 hours from home. At college, he played lacrosse and excelled academically. He thrived in college and became an incredible friend to many of his peers. Will was even named Captain of his lacrosse team in his senior year and was set to graduate with honors.

During Christmas break in 2014, Will spent time at home with his friends and family. He was excited to return to college in January, and was actively preparing for life after graduation. In late January 2015, flu started circulating through Will’s campus and his mother urged him to take the appropriate precautions to stay healthy. Will had not yet been vaccinated against the flu that season. Just a few days later, Will’s mother received a call that he had collapsed and was being taken to the local hospital. Will’s parents rushed to catch a flight to Florida to be with their son. When they arrived at the airport, they received a call from Will’s doctor with the most devastating news a parent can hear – Will had died. His blood sugar was significantly elevated, his heart had stopped, and the medical team was unable to revive him. In just three days, the flu had resulted in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and Will’s subsequent death.

Flu can increase the risk of DKA. Will’s mother, Lyndall, wants everyone to know that people with Type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk of flu-related complications, and as such, should receive an annual flu vaccine each and every year. And people around family members with Type 1 diabetes need to be vaccinated, too, to help protect their loved ones. Lyndall also encourages people with Type 1 diabetes to seek medical treatment immediately if they fall ill with flu; every minute counts when it comes to saving a life. Lyndall hopes that Will’s story will help save lives, because flu and DKA are a deadly combination.

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