Personal Testimonies

Amanda Kanowitz

  • Influenza (flu)

The doctor said to keep her hydrated. But all children are not alike, some, like Amanda, are at risk for extreme reactions to the flu and other diseases.

Colin Durkin

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Pamela and Kevin Durkin write about the tragic death of their infant, Colin, due to whooping cough (pertussis).

Colin Enderlein

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Mary-Clayton Enderlein recounts the suffering of her newborn son Colin endured during his life-and-death struggle with whooping cough (pertussis).

Eileen Ouellette

  • Measles

In this personal account, Dr. Ouellette vividly describes her own experience with measles infection in 1937. As an eight-year-old girl, she suffered for days with an extremely high fever from measles.

Elizabeth Cover

  • Influenza (flu)

In December 2003, Colorado experienced its worst influenza epidemic in years. Among the influenza-related fatalities that month was Elizabeth Terese Cover, who died from complications of influenza weeks before her second birthday.

Emily Lastinger

  • Influenza (flu)

The parents of Emily Lastinger recount the devastating loss of their young daughter to influenza.


  • Polio

Polio survivor recalls tragic loss of twin brother and classmates to the disease

Helena Harding

  • Hib (H. influenzae type b)

Two months after 18-month-old Helena Harding was hospitalized with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), her parents publicized her ordeal with the hope of educating others about the disease and encouraging parents to have their children immunized. Prior to her illness, her parents had no knowledge of Hib and the vaccine that prevents it.

Jacob Newby

  • Pneumococcal

This article was written by Carla Newby, who lost her six-year-old son to pneumococcal meningitis.

John Kiely

  • Measles

John Kiely relates his personal experience with measles and reminds us that vigilance in maintaining high levels of vaccination coverage is necessary to prevent measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases from making a comeback.

Katie Bellovich

  • Influenza (flu)

The story of Katie Bellovich, courtesy of Families Fighting Flu.

Laura Lake

  • Polio

Polio victim entreats parents to say yes to vaccines.

Leo Wexler-Mann

  • Pneumococcal

A three-year-old underwent two days of emergency room visits and a four-day hospital stay being treated for pneumococcal pneumonia, sepsis, and pleural effusions


  • Diphtheria

A public health nurse discusses the death of her young cousin from diphtheria in 1961, and the subsequent serious illness she and family members experienced.

Mary Catherine

  • Hib (H. influenzae type b)

A couple with serious concerns about the safety and morality of vaccination delayed immunizing their infant daughter. While they research their questions, their daughter is hospitalized with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

Matthys Family

  • Rotavirus

Brooke Matthys describes the painful realization that if only she had taken the time to get her children vaccinated against rotavirus, this ordeal for her family could have been prevented.

Nelyn Baker

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Lynne Baker suspects she contracted whooping cough from a coughing customer in a bookstore about two weeks before giving birth to her son Nelyn.

Nick Morris

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Thomas Morris describes the hospitalization of his preschool son, Nick, with whooping cough (pertussis).

Olivia Dahl

  • Measles

In 1962, Roald Dahl (author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and other beloved books for children and young adults) suffered a heartbreaking loss: the death of his 7-year-old daughter Olivia from the complications of measles encephalitis.

Peete Family

  • Rotavirus

Actress Holly Robinson Peete describes her experience as the mother of a toddler with rotavirus infection. While on a family vacation, Holly’s son became extremely ill with profuse vomiting and dehydration.


  • Hepatitis B

Physician underscores the importance of hepatitis B vaccination at birth in this testimony presented before the U.S. House of Representatives. Dr Zandt, a member of the organization PKIDs (Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases), represented his family and all of the families at PKIDs whose children have been affected by vaccine-preventable diseases.

Ramona & June

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Ramona, a grandmother, describes her family’s experience when her 6-month-old granddaughter contracted pertussis from her.

Sarah Archer

  • Hib (H. influenzae type b)

A busy mother procrastinates about getting her daughter’s Hib vaccination. She describes the anguish of watching her 2-year-old’s near-fatal illness.

Serena King

  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

A month-old infant died of whooping cough last week in Austin, the first such death in Travis County in years and a reminder that the highly contagious disease is in the community and can kill babies.

Sharon Karber

  • Polio

Sharon Karber, a nurse working in public health, recalls the paralysis she suffered from polio when she was 3 years old in 1953. She describes her experience with this crippling vaccine-preventable disease and her subsequent struggles with and success at rehabilitation.

The Problem

  • Measles

Measles (rubeola) is more than a red rash. It is a leading vaccine-preventable killer of children in the developing world.

View All Personal Testimonies

This page was updated on .