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Family Stories

The Kanowitz Family

FFF Advocate:
Richard and Alissa Kanowitz (father and mother)
Place of Residence:
Scarsdale, NY
Date of Child's Death::
March 1, 2004

Amanda Kanowitz

On the morning of Saturday, February 28, 2004, 4½-year-old Amanda Kanowitz developed a cough and a mild fever. She stayed home and spent the day playing her favorite games with her family. The next morning, she began vomiting, but appeared to have nothing more than a typical virus.

By Sunday evening, Amanda appeared weak and her lips started to look gray. Amanda’s mother called the family doctor, who told her that she had received over 60 calls that weekend about the same virus, and that Amanda would be okay as long as she stayed hydrated. The doctor recommended that Amanda only drink several sips of water at a time, and that her parents should make sure she continued to urinate.

At 3:30 a.m., Amanda woke her parents because she was concerned that she had drank an entire cup of water, instead of just taking sips. She then told them she had a stomachache and urinated in the bathroom.

Just four hours later, at 7:30 a.m., Amanda’s parents found her lifeless in her bed.

To honor Amanda’s memory, the Kanowitz family has established the Amanda Kanowitz Foundation, which is focusing on research to identify which other children should be considered high-risk for such sudden, extreme reactions to the flu and other infectious diseases. For more information, please visit

To watch a short video about Amanda, click here for The Story of Amanda Kanowitz.

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