Family speaks about H1N1 devastation

By: Lizz Marrs Email
By: Lizz Marrs Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - On Thursday, 11 News told you about the county's first reported pediatric death from H1N1. Friday, the victim's family has a heartfelt request for every parent.

The Maickel family is begging everyone to get their children vaccinated for the H1N1 virus.

They say you never think it could happen to you then it does, and H1N1 hurt the Maickel family in the worst way possible. Their daughter was taken from them.

'A lot of people don't think this could ever happen to them and here I'm sitting without my daughter,' says father Kevin Maickel.

Kevin Maickel moved to Grand Junction to be closer to his daughters. But his pride and joy, 15-year-old Paige, became Mesa County's first pediatric death Swine Flu victim.

Her dad says, "Everyone she met just fell in love with her. She loved hanging out in the garage with me. We'd go riding. She was just my shadow. It seemed like everyone that ran into her just seemed to love her."

Maickel said they thought Paige was a perfectly healthy girl before she was diagnosed with H1N1. She enjoyed bowling, soccer, and even played basketball for Grand Mesa Middle School.

After Paige was diagnosed with H1N1, they learned she had Leukemia. But Maickel says it was H1N1, not Leukemia, that ultimately took Paige's life.

Since Paige was thought to be perfectly healthy and had no underlying conditions, she didn't fall into a high priority group to get the vaccine.

Now that there are open clinics, the Maickels don't think any parent should pass up getting their children vaccinated.
"Please. Not in my lifetime did we ever think something like this would happen. Take an hour of your time to get your kids vaccinated. Please," begs Kevin.

Paige passed away the day after Thanksgiving, and the Maickel family is making sure to get their other three daughters vaccinated now that Mesa County has open appointments.

To get your children vaccinated, call the health department at 683- 6636 or click on the Health Department's link below to set up an appointment.

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