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.


Marcelina’s story as told by her sister Angelina.


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.

Luke could not breathe without a ventilator and remained in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for days.

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.

One month after the onset of H1N1, Luke returned home 36 pounds lighter and substantially weaker.

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:


Courtesy of ShotbyShot.org


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.


Tamika’s Story


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.


Place of Residence: Mystic, Connecticut

At age 21, Leslie was a healthy college student who was looking forward to starting her career as an elementary school teacher. She didn’t realize that chickenpox was not only a threat to children, but also to otherwise healthy adults. She caught chickenpox while student teaching and her illness was quite severe, suffering with blisters from the top of her head down to her knees.

Leslie distinctly remembers her illness and wants others to know chickenpox can be serious, but thankfully can now be prevented with vaccination.

Leslie shares the story of how she suffered from chickenpox during her senior year of college. 


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.