"Momma, when i grow up I want to be a singer and a dancer".
-Scarlet Anne Taylor, 5 years old
Stringy Blonde hair, pale skin and her piercing blue eyes. A giggle that echoes for miles. Dreams of a 5 year old child are unlimited, to my daughter, she was going to be a performer and she was just that. I can still hear her singing ‘Royal’ by Lorde to the top of her lungs and see her holding the candle she took off our bookcase singing into it, stomping her feet in my heels to the song. Sadly, 1 month later to the exact date of her performance in my living room, Scarlet Anne Taylor was pronounced dead. Her little body was so helpless. I had no idea for the last two days, she was dying before my very own eyes. I screamed. I screamed and fell to the floor. Sobbing, I crawled in the hospital bed with her.
"I held on to her lifeless body for 5 hours after she died".
I prayed that she would be one of those miracles you hear about where people regain a heartbeat and come back to life after being gone for this miraculous amount of time. She never woke back up. My tiny dancer was gone and there was nothing I could do. Two weeks later, I received a call from the medical examiner. He told me with her cause of death. It was the H3N2 FLU. Prior to Scarlet’s death I was not aware of the dangers of the flu, the symptoms of the flu, or the fact that influenza could be deadly to an otherwise healthy child. I thought everyone got over the flu. I never vaccinated her or any of my children against influenza. I thought if it wasn’t mandatory, then it wasn’t important. One day she got sent home from school with a fever and less than 48 hours later she was gone, forever.
I am now a strong advocate for flu vaccination. I spend most days living to save lives since I was not able to save my beautiful Scarlet. I hope Scarlet's death brings life in those people who have chosen against preventative measures that could potentially save a life. That life might just be your child. Approximately 100 children die each year from influenza. Although, compared to the entire United States population, that may seem like a small number. Dont be blindsided thinking it could never happen to you. The flu will sneak up and take your loved ones out without warning. Get vaccinated. Stay home if your sick. Wash your hands.
Please make this flu season a personal one. Share Scarlet's story, it might save someone's life.
Scarlet Anne Taylor
July 21, 2009 - December 19, 2014
Scarlet is featured in The End-FLUenza Projects 'Operation Flu Hat'.