Vaccine Information You Need
Infant and Child Vaccines
Personal Testimonies
Kate Bellovich
Infant and Child Vaccines: Personal Testimonies

The Story of Katie Bellovich

Courtesy of Famlies Fighting Flu
On the evening of Sunday, March 12, 2000, 3½-year-old Katie Bellovich developed a mild fever. As a result Katie’s mother kept her home from school the next day, but she showed no other symptoms of the flu.
On that Tuesday, Katie was feeling much better. She and her mother enjoyed a fun day of playing together. However, when Katie woke up the next morning, she was feeling sick again. Her mother knew that Katie would not be able to return to school that day. She vomited once and woke up the following morning with severe abdominal pain. Katie could barely breathe when she was lying down. Her parents later found out that the pain she was experiencing was caused by fluid building up around her heart.
Around 8:45 a.m. on that Thursday, her mother took her to the pediatrician, at which point, she noticed Katie had cold hands. Within minutes, her face and lips turned gray. She was immediately admitted to the hospital. Her condition deteriorated quickly, and Katie was lethargic within a half hour. Her heart was failing, and due to a lack of blood flow, her knees and extremities turned black.
An ultrasound found fluid near Katie’s gallbladder and kidneys, in addition to around her heart. When her heart stopped, traditional CPR was attempted but ineffective; because fluid surrounded her heart, there was no room for it to expand. In an attempt to resuscitate her, the team of doctors then performed a thoracotomy (surgical incision of the chest wall), and in addition, opened her chest to manually compress her heart. For almost an hour doctors tried to revive her, but were not successful.
The autopsy revealed that Katie had died of myocarditis (inflammation of the muscular tissue of the heart) as a result of Influenza B. Katie had not been vaccinated against the flu.
Families Fighting Flu (FFF) was established in the memory of the children who die each year from the complications of influenza. FFF member families have experienced first-hand the severity of influenza in a child, with many of the members having suffered the devastating loss of an infant, child, or teen. The mission of the non-profit organization, which is made up of families and healthcare professionals, is to reduce pediatric deaths due to influenza by raising awareness about the importance of annual influenza vaccination for children. This report is reprinted courtesy of Families Fighting Flu.
For more information, please visit www.familiesfightingflu.org.
Published 3/21/09
Disclaimer: The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) publishes personal testimonies for the purpose of making them available for our readers' review. Please note that information in the testimonies may be outdated and may not reflect the current immunization schedule or recommendations.
Infant and Child Vaccines
Infant and Child Home
Vaccines You Need
Personal Testimonies
>> Amanda Kanowitz - influenza
>> Colin Durkin - whooping cough
>> Colin Enderlein - whooping cough
>> Eileen Ouellette - measles
>> Elizabeth Cover - influenza
>> Emily Lastinger - influenza
>> Frankie - Polio
>> Helena Harding - Hib
>> Jacob Newby - pneumococcal
>> John Kiely - measles
>> Katie Bellovich - influenza
>> Laura Lake - polio
>> Leo Wexler-Mann - pneumococcal
>> Lois - diphtheria
>> Mary Catherine - Hib
>> Matthys Family - rotavirus
>> Measles and Rubella Initiative - measles
>> Nelyn Baker - whooping cough
>> Nick Morris - whooping cough
>> Olivia Dahl - measles
>> Peete Family - rotavirus
>> PKIDs - hepatitis B
>> Ramona & June - whooping cough
>> Sarah Archer - Hib
>> Serena King - whooping cough
>> Sharon Karber - polio
View All Personal Testimonies
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Learn about Influenza
Watch Influenza Videos
>> view all VPDs
Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu
is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) volunteer-based advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the lives of children by increasing awareness about the seriousness of the disease and reducing the number of childhood hospitalizations and deaths caused by the flu each year.
This page was updated on July 18, 2021.
This page was reviewed on July 18, 2021.
Immunize.org  •  2136 Ford Parkway  •  Suite 5011  •  Saint Paul, Minnesota  •  55116
tel 651-647-9009  •  fax 651-647-9131
Immunize.org (IAC), a non-profit organization, works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies.