Protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Family Stories

The Henderson Family

FFF Advocate:
Nichole Henderson (mother)
Place of Residence:
Graceville, FL
Date of Child's Death:
October 6, 2013
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Elijah Henderson

On the morning of October 4, 2013, 5½-year-old Elijah Henderson was getting ready for school with his mother. He told his mother that his throat hurt so she gave him some medicine and took him to school. After school he did his homework, ate dinner with his family and played his Wii.

The next morning he began running a low grade fever. His mother gave him some medicine and then took him to school. It was a special day at school that Elijah did not want to miss; however, shortly after being dropped off his mother received a call from the school asking her to pick him up because he was not feeling well.

When Elijah got home his mother called the doctor and he suggested that she take him to the local hospital to get tested for influenza. His mother took him right away and Elijah tested positive. He was prescribed Tamiflu, which he started immediately.

Later that evening Elijah watched TV and played video games. The following day was much of the same. That evening at bedtime his mother decided to sleep with him to keep an eye on him. She slept with him all night giving medication to break the fever and making sure he stayed hydrated.

The next day, Elijah stayed home with his father while his mother went to work. While at work his mother received a phone call from his father saying he was going to take Elijah back to the hospital. But, suddenly, during the call his father yelled that Elijah was not breathing and started CPR. He hung up and quickly called 911.

His mother rushed home and Elijah’s mother and father followed the ambulance to the local hospital. Elijah was quickly taken into the Emergency Room, but a short while later the doctors came out and told his parents that there was nothing more they could do. Elijah died from influenza, just two days after showing his first symptom. He was not vaccinated against the flu.

Now his parents are strong advocates for the flu vaccine and urge all family members and friends to get vaccinated every year. It could save a life.

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