Flu Fighter: Chris Miller

Meet flu fighter Chris Miller from Westfield, New Jersey, whose daughter Caroline was  hospitalized with flu-related complications in December 2013. While Caroline was hospitalized, Chris made a promise to help make sure no other family has to experience the potential loss of a child to flu. He and his family now share their story to illustrate the seriousness of flu and help raise awareness by working with Families Fighting Flu.

  1. How has flu impacted you personally? Why do you fight flu?
    At the age of five, my youngest daughter, Caroline, was diagnosed with influenza A and double pneumonia.  Within 12 hours of her initial flu diagnosis, her condition deteriorated so rapidly that she had to be taken by helicopter from our local hospital in New Jersey to a specialized children’s hospital in another state. Our daughter suffered from acute respiratory distress syndrome and had to be intubated and placed in a drug-induced coma on a specialized oscillating ventilator for two weeks. I fight flu to honor the promise I made to the world over my daughter’s hospital bed to do anything in my power to help make sure no other parent has to experience the potential loss of a child as our family did.
  2. How do you fight flu?
    I fight flu by making sure everyone in our family gets their flu vaccine every single year and by supporting organizations dedicated to helping educate and support flu awareness such as Families Fighting Flu (FFF).
  3. What would you say to those who are hesitant about getting a flu vaccine?
    If anyone is hesitant about getting the flu vaccine, I ask them to think about a world where they never get to hear the laughter of their daughter, their son, their mother, their father or another loved one again just because they neglected to get a simple vaccine.  There is simply no excuse not to get the vaccine given the potential risks of the disease and the benefits of vaccination.
  4. What do you want others to learn from your experience with flu?
    I would hope that other families learn from our mistake in not recognizing the possible seriousness of flu. I implore every parent to learn the facts and look at the numbers. Influenza is estimated to kill tens of thousands of people each year. Your best line of defense for keeping yourself and your family healthy is making annual flu vaccination a priority. Simply put, flu vaccination saves lives.

To read Caroline’s full story, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org.

The profiles featured on this website are provided for informational and educational purposes only. The information provided in these profiles reflect the opinions of the speakers only, and does not necessarily represent the position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services. No endorsement of the speakers by the U.S. Government should be inferred or implied.