As rising seventh graders are required to get vaccinated for whooping cough, one South Carolina family is speaking about how important the shot is after they lost their newborn baby to the disease.
Felicia Dube said everything was fine for her baby son's first seven weeks. Carter was born in December 2009.
"On a Tuesday afternoon he started running a low-grade fever and so we called the pediatrician with a little bit of concern and they had us go ahead and bring him in," Dube said.
Within days, Carter went from healthy to gravely ill and tests showed he had Pertussis - or whooping cough.
"He started the whooping cough, just real hard cough and cough and he made a whooping noise and when he did, he turned blue," Dube said. "Bells and sirens started going off, and we panicked."
Despite every effort to save him, Carter was too small and weak to survive.
"We took family members back two by two and we had our pastor go back with him and pray with him and pray with us," Dube said.
It's been three years since Carter passed away and in that time, Felicia and Daryl Dube have teamed up with NASCAR's Jeff Gordon to promote Pertussis awareness.
The Sounds of Pertussis Campaign encourages adults around small babies and children get vaccinated.
"The importance of me telling Carter's story is that somebody else doesn't have to suffer like we did," Felicia Dube said.
She said they still don't know how Carter got whooping cough, but it came before his 8-week shots, meaning he wasn't protected. Now her hope is his short life and death will be a reminder - and warning - to other parents.
"He's the first thing I think about when my feet hit the floor in the morning and he's the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night," Dube said. "It's not something that goes away; it's not something that gets easier to deal with. It's just something you learn to work your life around."
Since Carter's death, the Dubes had a baby girl who is now 2 years old and they have an older son. They continue to speak out whenever they can about preventing the disease.
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