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

The Stevenson Family

FFF Advocate:
Michelle Stevenson
Place of Residence:
Grand Blanc, Michigan
7 years old, 2022
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Kaden Stevenson

Kaden was an extremely active and healthy seven year old. He has an orange and white belt in Tang Soo Do, Korean martial arts, and also enjoys playing soccer. 

Not the Common Cold

On December 23, 2022, Kaden’s mom Michele Stevenson noticed he was feeling under the weather and wasn’t his usual energetic self. She didn’t think much of it and assumed he might have come down with a cold or the stomach bug. 

After about four days of monitoring him and having him rest, Michele saw no improvement and noticed his condition was progressively worsening. 

At this time, Kaden began sharing he had pain in his right leg. 

While watching Kaden, Michele’s mother called her at work and expressed concern about Kaden’s condition worsening. Returning home, Michele noticed swelling in his leg and a rash over his entire body.  

While Michele prepared to take Kaden to urgent care she could barely get his coat and shoes on because he was in so much pain. On their way to urgent care Michele decided it might be best to take Kaden directly to the emergency room. 

The Diagnosis

Kaden was first seen at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, MI. The Stevenson’s were told that Kaden would need to be transferred to somewhere with higher level care. Kaden would need to be transferred so he could have access to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in order to relieve the pressure in his right leg. 

Kaden was airlifted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, within a matter of minutes. There, Kaden was diagnosed with influenza A and strep. As a complication of influenza, bacteria entered Kaden’s bloodstream, causing him to go into toxic shock. 


Due to toxic shock syndrome, Kaden’s heart, liver, and kidneys were failing. He would have a fasciotomy in his right leg to relieve some of the pressure. Doctors also had to remove a lot of the dead tissue as they attempted to save Kadens leg. On his right leg his entire calf muscle was removed. Kaden would spend two weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where he was told he would need to have both legs amputated. 

After spending three weeks at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Kaden was transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, where he would spend four weeks furthering his recovery. Kaden then got to spend two weeks with family and friends before his surgery. 

Both of Kaden’s legs were amputated as a result of the infection in his bloodstream. 

Recovery and Reflection

His right leg was amputated above the knee, and his left, below the knee. Kaden now references having robot legs. His mother, Michele Stevenson, and all of Kaden’s family and friends are so thankful for all the doctors and nurses who helped save Kadens’s life. 

Michele wants other parents to ensure their children are vaccinated and not let their busy lives get in the way. She knows firsthand how important it is to prioritize vaccination and look for early warning signs of influenza. 

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