Mother of 16-year-old killed by flu in Alamance Co. speaks out

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — This flu season Alamance County has had one flu death — 16-year-old Robert Tate.

“I miss everything about him, his hugs, his laughter, his personality, his jokes, everything,” explain Robert’s mom, Tonya Jenkins.

Jenkins says last month her son wasn’t feeling well, although she didn’t think it was anything serious she took him to be checked out just in case.

“It just seemed like he had allergies. You know, seasons change and it was getting cold,” explains Jenkins.

Within a couple days Jenkins says her son got much worse.

“He was coughing really hard, I mean to the point where he’s losing his voice,” she said.

In the matter of two weeks Robert went from the doctor’s office, to Alamance Regional, to Chapel Hill, where he died from H1N1.

“He fought hard for 11 days but I would never have thought I wouldn’t have my son back here,” explains Jenkins.

Jenkins told us her son did get a flu shot this past fall.

“It just happened so quickly and I’m still thinking about how he got it because I really don’t know,” she said.

Everyday this mom misses her son who was taken away too soon. “I still feel like there was something more I could’ve done when I know there couldn’t have been.”

Jenkins says her son was thinking about joining the military.

There is still a possibility you can get the flu even if you do get a flu shot but doctors say the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.

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