Brayden Kress Tharp July 7, 2006 – February 29, 2012
On February 28, 2012, Brayden Kress Tharp got off the bus and went with his dad to drop his sisters off and dance. On the way back, he and his dad were playing a game where you got to hit the other if you saw a yellow car. That day, he and his dad decided to play “Red” instead of “Yellow”. When they got home, he asked his daddy if he could call a friend who had given him his phone number. His dad said not today, and went into the kitchen to cook.
He fell asleep in the living room, while his daddy was cooking supper, which was not like him. This was what prompted his mother to feel his forehead when she came home. She noticed he had a runny nose and a slight fever. She gave him some children’s Motrin, after arguing with him. He said he didn’t want it. When she said he was begging her for medication the other day when he didn’t need it, his response was “I was faking it then!!”. He then snuggled in on the couch with his mom while dad went to teach a night course. The Motrin took care of the fever.
When Brayden’s dad got home from teaching, he got Brayden up to go potty at about 11:00 PM, as he had still been having a little trouble with wetting the bed. Brayden’s forehead was cool as a cucumber. When his dad put him back in bed, his dad told him “G’Night, Love you, see you in the morning”, just like he always did.
Brayden gave his dad a huge hug, said “I love you too daddy,”, then rolled over and hugged his pillow.
The next morning when his dad went to get him up to get ready for school. Brayden was still hugging his pillow, just like he was when his dad had left the room the night before, but Brayden wouldn’t wake up. He had passed in the early morning hours. After many days, when the report came back, they found the flu and strep in his system. He had contracted the flu, which weakened his immune system and allowed the strep to attack the lining of his brain. Brayden was one of 34 pediatric deaths for that season, according to the CDC. The shot was working. Brayden hadn’t had his flu shot that year.
The time, from our noticing a runny nose and fever, to his being gone, was estimated to be around 9 hours.
His family hasn’t missed their flu shot since.
Brayden is featured in The End-FLUenza Projects 'Operation Flu Hat'.