Home > General Info, Parent Perspective, Preteen & Teen Vaccines, Preventable Diseases, Seasonal Flu, Testimonials, Vaccine Advocacy > I Lost My 20 Year Old Child to Flu. Don’t Think It Can’t Happen to You.

I Lost My 20 Year Old Child to Flu. Don’t Think It Can’t Happen to You.

brittandersen2Losing your 20 year old healthy child to flu is something no parent ever expects to happen.

by Franki Andersen

Seven months ago, I lost my beautiful daughter, Brittany Danielle Andersen, at the age of 20.  I’m sharing her story so that parents and young adults will know that the flu doesn’t just take young kids and old people.  It takes whomever it wants at any age.

brittandersen1As a mother, there is nothing worse than seeing your child sick and hospitalized.  When Britt was young she loved to sing, dance, play on her swing set and dress up.  But we had a few medical scares in those early years.  In fact, she was on life support four times between the ages of 18 months and 6 years due to repeated bouts of strep throat that would effect her lungs. But then, after a surgery to remove her tonsils and adnoids, she never got sick again, and I was grateful that those hospital days were behind us.

That was, until she fell ill with influenza A earlier this year.

It was a Thursday, March 24th and she said her throat was itchy so she picked up some TheraFlu before I dropped her at her dads’ house. I talked to her later that evening to see how she was feeling, and I could hear how the sore throat had altered her voice.  But she said that she was fine.

The next day, her father dropped her off before work. She stood in the doorway for a minute and when I asked her if she was coming in, her reply was “I don’t quite feel like myself”.

I asked her if she had breakfast and she said no, so she had some toast and juice before going to lie down.  I propped her up with some pillows so she was sitting upright on her bed and about fifteen minutes later I checked in on her and asked how she was. Her reply was simply “Ok” but that obviously wasn’t true because those were the last words she ever said to me.

brittandersenselfie

This was the last photo taken of Britt.

Around 11:45, I heard a weird rattle coming from her room. I went in and found her lying on her back.  When I tried to wake her, I noticed white saliva coming out of her mouth. I called 911, and when they got there, they could not get a pulse.  They worked on her for what seemed like eternity and then put her in the ambulance.  I followed the ambulance to the hospital and at 2pm they told us they got a pulse back.

What a relief, I thought and collapsed into a chair. 

They then life-flighted her to Sioux Falls, SD.  When I arrived there the head nurse and lung doctor told me that she was not stabilizing.  They had maxed out all the blood pressure meds they could give, and nothing was working. They said the word septis, which I was unfamiliar with at the time, and they told me I would need to “make a decision”.

At 6:30 am on Saturday, March 26th, 2016 I made that decision and my daughter was taken off of life support.

Her heart had been the only thing going. They stopped working on her after she went into cardiac arrest twice within a few minutes. So, officially she died at the hospital, but all her organs had already shut down at home, which is what we suspect was the sound of the rattle that we heard.

Influenza A had taken her so quickly, but not entirely quietly.

Brittany had only complained of a sore throat, nothing else. She didn’t have a temperature. I had no idea that her body was fighting so hard before it was too late and she was gone.

brittandersonandmomGrieving over the loss of your child is something no one ever expects to happen.

To me, my daughter was a saint.  She didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs.  She was waiting for the perfect person to give herself to.  She enjoyed singing in the choir, writing songs and chatting with friends. But she wasn’t just my daughter.  She was my best friend and my business partner too.  In her short twenty years here on earth, she accomplished quite a bit and made special connections with people everywhere she went.

Sadly, Britt would never get the chance to fulfill all her dreams, because influenza took all that from her. 

I can only hope that in sharing the story of her untimely death that I can help her continue to make a difference here on Earth by saving the lives of others.

So, for Britt I say, please GET VACCINATED! 

Get yourself vaccinated.  Get your kids vaccinated.  Get your family vaccinated.  

And please, help support flu vaccination in your community.  You can join me the third weekend of September every year at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park, in Arnolds Park, IA, where I have organized a Memorial/Flu Awareness Walk in her honor.  It is called Blaze It Forward and donations received through events I organize and items I sell help the Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation give shots to those who can’t afford them.

For more information, follow our Blaze It Forward Facebook page and visit Vaccinate Your Family to learn more about the importance of flu vaccination at all ages.

  1. November 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story to warn others.

    Like

  2. November 22, 2016 at 6:12 am

    I would leave a reply pointing out that vaccines have sterilized and murdered more people than they have helped and that it is a tool used by big Pharma run by the Elite to lower the worlds population and making the survivors rely on medicine for the rest of their lives but it probably wouldn’t be published.

    Like

  3. November 22, 2016 at 6:20 am

    It’s published. It’s not true, though.

    Serious harms from vaccines are very rare, and deaths more so. Vaccines don’t cause infertility.

    Like

  4. Lawrence
    November 22, 2016 at 6:47 am

    And anti-vaxers wonder why they aren’t taken seriously…….

    Like

  5. flushotscam
    November 23, 2016 at 10:18 am

    You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime than death by flu. Maybe you should write a blog about people being bit by sharks at the beach….or death by bee sting.

    Like

  6. Lawrence
    November 23, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Actually, as many as 40,000 people die every year of the flu – and even in light flu years, several thousand will die…..and of course, we have to worry about another “Spanish Flu” which killed as many as 100,000,000 people globally & at least 1 million in the US.

    Like

  7. flushotscam
    November 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    In my state, your chances of death by flu is .00001%. According to google your chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is .00008%. The flu is trivial and the vaccine is at best 50% effective……in recent years it was 12% effective in 18-60 age group. Total scam…doesn’t work.

    Like

  8. Lawrence
    November 23, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Where does it say the Flu vaccine is 0% effective?

    Like

  9. Lawrence
    November 23, 2016 at 2:07 pm
  10. flushotscam
    November 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Oh really, I recommend you start here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_ethics

    Like

  11. Lawrence
    November 23, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Ha Ha Ha….you really aren’t very funny.

    An anti-vaxer trying to talk about medical ethics? That’s hilarious.

    Like

  12. Chris
    November 23, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Dear flushotscam, please review the data at http://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html

    You will see that 111 American children died from flu in the 2013-14 flu season, 148 children died the next year and 87 kids died in last year’s flu season. Please provide the following verifiable data:

    1. The average number of American children killed by lightning annually using reliable surveillance data.

    2. Your proven way to prevent influenza deaths, especially those of children. Be sure to post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to support your answer.

    Like

  13. flushotscam
    November 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Ok….so 111 kids in 2014. Lets do some math. Chance of death by flu in your child is now .0000016% . I’ll take my chances and my autonomy. This is why no one takes you seriously. Normal healthy children do not die of the flu….show me the pubmed study showing immunity after surviving the flu. You people are decadent authoritarians and out of your mind. For the sake of your children I hope you don’t have bathtubs, swimming pools, and two story houses. How many children die from those each year ….geesh!

    Like

  14. Lawrence
    November 23, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    A lot of kids do – which is why precautions are taken, including better designs…..

    My son caught the Flu when he was only 3 months old (too young to be vaccinated) – it was extremely scary & I would have preferred that he not have gotten sick in the first place.

    Like

  15. Lawrence
    November 23, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    And your comment can be seen as “victim blaming” – pray tell, why wouldn’t a “healthy” child die from the Flu?

    During the 1918 – 1921 Pandemic, it was the young and healthy adults who died in a much higher proportion than either children or the elderly…..so “healthy” is a relative term when it comes to disease.

    Like

  16. Chris
    November 23, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    “Normal healthy children do not die of the flu….”

    Citation needed. I asked you to support your answer with PubMed indexed studies by reputable researchers. That evidence free statement does not qualify.

    “show me the pubmed study showing immunity after surviving the flu.”

    I am sorry I do not understand that question. Also, I see no reason why I should bow to your demands for studies when you have refused to provide any kind of evidence for your statements.

    ” Chance of death by flu in your child is now .0000016% .”

    Compared to what? Again, you have not answered my question on the chance of death by flu versus lightning strike, a statistic that you brought up. Again, I see no reason to take the blatant assertions from someone who is unwilling to provide actual evidence.

    Like

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