Mom campaigning for flu shot after son's loss

Flu shot

A local mother is trying to spread awareness after losing her young son to influenza two years ago.

It was May 2016 when two-and-a-half-year-old Jude Promoli woke with a low grade fever.

When she went to wake him and his twin brother from a nap later that day, Jill Promoli says, “I could tell very quickly that he wasn't okay. He wasn't breathing and he wasn't responsive so I called 911 and started CPR. Everyone did everything they could, but it was too late he was gone.”

His death was a mystery for months, until a final autopsy was done, which found influenza B had caused a cardiac arrest.

He is one of about 3,500 Canadians that die from the flu each year.

While Jude had gotten his flu shot, Promoli is still advocating for the vaccine.

“That is the first thing that people often ask us, they say, ‘Okay, well if it didn't work for him then why are you suggesting other people get it?’ The thing is so it's not perfect, but it saves a lot of lives.”

The Middlesex-London Health Unit says there are many good reasons to get your flu shot.

Dr. Alex Summers explains, “The influenza virus can cause you to be very sick…and it's different than the common cold. It tends to be much more severe and it can have those really dangerous complications like pneumonia or infection of the lungs and can lead people to be hospitalized and can also potentially lead to death.”

That’s why Promoli hopes Jude’s story will help save other families from experiencing the same loss.

“I remember looking at him every day and thinking, you know, there is something a little different and special about you and I don’t know what you’re going to do with your life but I can't wait to see what it’s going to be and now I feel we have been robbed because we don't get to find out now.”