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

The McGowan Family

FFF Advocate:
Diane McGowan (mother)
Place of Residence:
Nazareth, PA
Date of Death:
February 9, 2005
Share this Story:
<< Back to Family Stories

Martin McGowan 

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

On February 8, 2005, 15-year-old Martin McGowan took an afternoon nap before trying out for the high school baseball team. His mother noticed that he looked a little under the weather, but Martin insisted that he felt fine – there was no way he would miss the highly-anticipated tryouts. Martin attended the baseball tryouts but was exhausted afterward. He also complained that his legs hurt from running. When Martin got home, he watched a little TV and went to bed.

The next morning at 2:30 a.m. Martin’s mother heard him vomiting in the bathroom. He had a fever of 102 degrees. His mother gave him some medicine and he went back to bed. Martin later awoke at 4:30 a.m. and began to vomit once again. The pain in his legs had also increased. In addition to giving Martin plenty of fluids, his mother tried easing the pain in his legs by giving him a warm bath and applying ointment to the area, but nothing seemed to work. As the aching in his legs worsened, Martin’s mother called the doctor who suggested that either Martin come in for an appointment that afternoon or his mother take him to the emergency room. Martin said he needed to go to the emergency room.

When he arrived at the hospital, the ER doctor took his vitals and did an initial evaluation. By this time, Martin’s lips were white so they administered an IV. Martin was tested for influenza, which came back positive. As a result of the influenza disease attacking his muscles, Martin developed compartment syndrome, which limited his blood circulation and caused severe pain. The intense running that Martin had done the night before escalated his condition from muscle aches to compartment syndrome in his legs. The doctor explained that if the blood flowing to Martin’s legs ceased for an extended period of time, they might have to amputate his legs. Martin needed to be operated on as soon as possible.

Martin was taken into surgery that afternoon. However, during the surgery, his heart stopped beating. Doctors attempted to revive him but they were unsuccessful. On February 9, 2005, Martin died of complications from influenza just 24 hours after his first symptom appeared. Martin had not been vaccinated against the flu.

In memory of Martin, the McGowan family has established a Scholarship Fund to coincide with Martin’s love of baseball. The family has set up the M.A.R.T.I.N. (May All Receive Their Immunizations Now) Flu Foundation. The non-profit organization’s mission is to provide information about the misconceptions of the influenza virus so that individuals understand the importance of immunization. The foundation achieves its mission by educating parents, children and athletic groups about the seriousness of the flu and its complications. For more information, please visit www.martinflufoundation.org.

Share this Story:
<< Back to Family Stories
Stay Informed
Sign up for our Weekly Flu News and quarterly newsletter, Fighting Influenza, to stay up-to-date on the latest flu news.


You are required to accept all of the terms and conditions in this License Agreement in order to receive a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FAMILIES FIGHTING FLU, INC. logo, displayed below (the “FFF Logo”), from Families Fighting Flu, Inc. (“FFF”). In order to accept these terms and conditions, you must click the “I Accept” button below.

  1. FFF hereby grants to you, and you accept, a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FFF Logo, which you may download and use solely in online and print earned media publications for a period of no more than six (6) months in the United States.
  2. You acknowledge that the FFF Logo is a valid trademark; that FFF is the sole owner of the FFF Logo; and that FFF retains all right, title, and interest in and to the FFF Logo. You agree that any and all use that you make of the FFF Logo, and any and all goodwill arising from your use of the FFF Logo, shall inure exclusively to the benefit of FFF.  You also agree that you shall not challenge the validity of the FFF Logo or FFF’s ownership or title thereto during the term of the License Agreement or thereafter.
  3. You agree that you shall use the FFF Logo only in the form shown above, and that you shall not alter, modify, change, or edit the FFF Logo in any manner.
  4. You acknowledge the valuable goodwill and reputation in the FFF Logo, and that it is essential that the high standards and reputation associated with the FFF Logo be maintained. You therefore agree to use the FFF Logo consistent with the highest standards of quality so as to protect and maintain the FFF Logo and FFF’s rights therein.
  5. FFF shall have the right to review and inspect your use of the FFF Logo at any time. FFF, in its sole discretion, may determine that you are not using the FFF Logo in an acceptable manner and require that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo.  To the extent that FFF requires that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo, you agree that you shall remove the FFF Logo from all online and print earned media publications as soon as practicable under the circumstances, and that you shall not use the FFF at any time in the future.
  6. You must include the following notice in connection with any use of the FFF Logo: “The Families Fighting Flu, Inc. logo is the registered trademark of Families Fighting Flu, Inc.”
I Accept