At 15 years old, Braden was described by his film teacher as “a unique spark of joy in this world”. Others knew him to be a kind soul, a true artist, and a compassionate friend. Braden fell ill with COVID-19 and suffered from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (also known as MIS-C). After seeking medical attention, he was hospitalized with COVID-19, suffered numerous complications, and sadly lost his life on January 5, 2021. Braden was not vaccinated against COVID-19 because it had not yet been approved for his age group in December 2020.
His mother, Amanda, shares Braden’s story below in her own words.
Luke Duvall, a healthy, athletic 15-year-old, was exhausted on the evening of October 2, 2009 but geared up and played in his high school football game anyway. The next day he awoke feeling worse, and by Sunday, he had a fever of 104.3 degrees. His parents worried that he was suffering from H1N1 influenza (flu), as the country was in the midst of a massive outbreak.
Luke’s fever continued through Monday, and when his father took him to the medical clinic, Luke’s parents fears were confirmed when he was diagnosed with the flu. He was sent home to rest and was given diarrhea and nausea medicine.
One important thing that the doctor overlooked was that Luke’s lung was filling up with mucus.
The next day Luke began spitting up blood and had great difficulty breathing. He was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. With his lung packed with bloody mucus, Luke was kept in the ICU in critical condition. The following morning Luke was MedEvaced to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for more intensive care. Luke was tested and eventually diagnosed with H1N1.
The doctors induced a coma so that he would remain unconscious and not have to bear the pain and discomfort of the ventilator. His condition would improve and then worsen again, a cycle that was very difficult for his parents to witness.
After a week, Luke suffered a serious setback. The doctors called in his family and his mother fell on her knees to pray for his life. From that point forward, Luke improved as his lungs got better and his blood pressure stayed normal. Luke came out of his coma after 12 days but a tube remained in his throat for the next five days. He was extubated on October 24 and entered rehab four days later in order to regain his basic living skills.
Thanks to the support of his family, doctors and rehabilitation workers, Luke returned to school and continued to get stronger. He even geared up for the baseball season.
While Luke has his health back, he continues to think about the young children he witnessed suffering from H1N1 in the hospital, some of who didn’t make it out alive. He wonders how different things would have played out if he and the others in the hospital had been vaccinated against H1N1.
After seeing Luke’s story on CBS Sixty Minutes (below), Vaccinate Your Family, reached out to his parents to ask that they help raise awareness about the importance of the influenza vaccine. Since then Luke and his entire family have become outspoken advocates.
Luke’s Story in his own words:
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.
You can purchase his book on Amazon.
At age 26 she had been misdiagnosed and by the time she was diagnosed with cancer years later it was too late for any treatment to be effective.
Evan’s story as told by his mother Lynn.
Alicia Stillman, Director of The Emily Stillman Foundation, writes about the loss of her daughter Emily to bacterial meningitis. One of the goals of the foundation is to raise awareness of meningococcal disease and the various vaccines that are now available to prevent it.
Patti Wukovits, Founder of the Kimberly Coffey Foundation, recounts how her daughter died from meningococcal B virus two years before the vaccine became available to protect against this deadly strain of meningitis.
Patti wants parents to know about the meningococcal B vaccine (MenB) that could have saved her daughter’s life.
Ryan Milley was 18 years old when he developed a fever and earache on Father’s Day. During the early morning hours, Ryan entered his parent’s room. He was weak, and in the dim light his mother noticed a rash on his stomach and could literally see blood vessels rupturing all over his body.
After 25 years in the medical profession, Frankie Milley knew that her son had meningitis, and he was in trouble.
I had suffered four miscarriages prior to getting pregnant with Callie. So to have her, was truly amazing. I called her our “miracle baby”.
Callie’s story, as told by her mother Katie.