Place of Residence: Suffolk, Virginia

Teresa was a healthy, artistic 10-year-old who loved to read, sew, draw, sing, and dance. She loved being a Junior Girl Scout and was very outgoing. She wasn’t high risk for COVID and hadn’t been vaccinated because in September 2021 it wasn’t yet approved for her age group. Sadly, Teresa lost her life to COVID in just a few short days. Her mother, Nicole – an elementary school teacher – shares her daughter’s story to inform other parents that vaccination is our best defense against COVID.

Teresa’s mother, Nicole, shares the story of losing her healthy, 10-year-old daughter to COVID on September 27, 2021. 


Place of Residence: Superior, Colorado

Sarah received a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant and her daughter tested positive for COVID antibodies at four months old. Sarah wants others to know the benefits of COVID vaccination for pregnant people.

Below, Sarah shares her personal experience as a postpartum mother.


Place of Residence: Iowa City, Iowa

At two-years-old, JJ was a happy, funny, and energetic child who loved animals, gymnastics, books, and spending time with family and friends. He and his parents traveled often. Sadly, although he was a healthy child, JJ lost his life to flu in February 2020 just 10 hours after first showing symptoms. Some of his mother’s favorite memories of JJ are reading books together at bedtime and holding hands while he was falling asleep.

JJ’s mother, Maurine, shares the story of how she lost her two-year-old son to flu.



Place of Residence: Newport News, Virginia

Madison was a magical, eight-year-old little girl who loved to play constantly, make new friends, and watch Disney movies. Her favorite movies were Disney’s Frozen and Trolls, and she loved the color pink. She lit up every room she walked into and she always seemed to have a smile on her face.

Sadly, Madison lost her life to flu in February 2020 just two days after being diagnosed with influenza A (H1N1), which also led to pneumonia and sepsis. Her mother, Jennifer, misses Madison’s radiant smile, her laugh, and her hugs and kisses.

Madison’s mother, Jennifer, shares the story of how she lost her eight-year-old daughter to flu.


Joseph Marotta was only five-years-old when he lost his life to influenza (flu). After losing Joseph, his mother Serese became an active parent advocate in hopes of preventing others from losing a child to a vaccine-preventable disease.

Serese shares Joseph’s story below in her own words.

As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children. We buckle them into their car seats, make them wear their bike helmets, hold their hand while crossing the street, and even get them their recommended childhood vaccinations. But what about getting our kids the flu vaccine?


Maggie’s story, as told by her father and board-certified pediatrician Dr. Tim Jacks.

Following is a copy of Dr. Jacks message written on CaringBridge. He wrote this in 2015 when his young child Maggie was exposed to measles at the same time she was fighting cancer. Maggie survived, but it was a scary experience for her family. 


Antonio, the son of Vaccinate Your Family’s Executive Director, was born in the fall of 2000. Unfortunately, at this time, children 6 months to 4 years of age were only recommended to receive an influenza (flu) vaccine if they were considered at high risk of complications from flu.


Rebecca Hendricks tells the story of losing her beautiful daughter, Scarlet Anne, to the flu.

I never imagined that jumping on Facebook to catch up with friends would have me reliving the worst day of my life. My five-year old daughter, Scarlet Anne Taylor, died as a result of influenza during the 2014-2015 flu season.


Kerri’s 1-year-old son Rory got a terrible case of the chickenpox in November 2019 due to a lack of community immunity (also referred to as herd immunity). Kerri shares how her son’s serious case of chickenpox led her to become a vocal vaccine advocate, and why she hopes other parents will join her in speaking up for vaccines and asking state legislators to strengthen school vaccination requirements.

Listen to Rory’s story, as told by his mother Kerri.


Richard was 13 years old when he got polio the summer before eighth grade. After a day of headaches, he woke up with a neck and back so painful and stiff that he couldn’t get out of bed despite the beautiful summer weather.

That day was the beginning of a long journey for Richard. Polio meant the teenager underwent a tracheotomy with only a local anesthetic, spent months in an iron lung, and endured years of intensive physical therapy. Through it all, he maintained his positive outlook and determination to return home to live a long, full life.

Richard shared an excerpt of his memoir, Not Just Polio, with Vaccinate Your Family. Please take a moment to read his incredible story of perseverance.

>> Read the excerpt from Not Just Polio

You can purchase his book on Amazon.