H1N1 and courage
The most horrific thing imaginable to most parents is the death of a child. Perhaps that’s why so many of us were deeply saddened and worried by the death of Evan Frustaglio, a 13-year-old hockey player who fell ill and died of H1N1 shortly after visiting London last weekend for a hockey tournament. The handsome looking young Toronto boy, scarcely old enough to have been called a teenager fell sick so fast and deteriorated quickly, then he began to come around again – only to die in his father’s arms during a bath at his home. Today was the funeral for the young man named Evan. Such a sad spectacle, impossible not to feel like an intruder, reluctantly pulled into this family’s grief. A boy on his way to becoming a lovely young man, his greatest concerns should have been choosing a high school, dreaming of dates with girls. His father Paul throughout the devastating and sad time has been a courageous voice warning other parents keep their children safe, watch them closely if they have flu symptoms and learn all you can about this virus. Before Evan’s death this virus was mostly an abstract. The H1N1 virus only became a real threat around here in Ontario when this devastating death occurred. I recall covering stories of this nature when I was a young reporter in Kitchener and in London too and I can tell you the dynamic of a story always changes when there is a face to it. This story too. Vaccine was suddenly available at clincs throughout various Ontario cities and lineups, especially in Toronto, were hours long. I have never met Evan’s father Paul but my heart goes out to him. He bravely is weathering his son’s death and he has also taken it and, in a remarkably classy manner, controlled the public remembrance of his son, made sure his death was not taken for granted. I have witnessed as a journalist ways people react to media when something horrific occurs. Some will shut media out, assuming them the enemy. Some will become overly controlling in trying to manage the message and will often lose it publicly. Very few are as courageous or as strong as this one grieving father has been.