KCs begin campaign against flu Print
National-World News
Written by Tami Quigley, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
flu victim

David Mueller, a healthy 31-year-old who died in February after four days of illness caused by Influenza B, is pictured in 2011 with his daughter, Autumn Rose. A campaign to educate the public about the flu and the needs for immunizations has been organized in Mueller’s name by councils of the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Allentown, Pa. Council leaders hope Knights take the effort nationwide. (CNS photo/courtesy Mueller family)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CNS) -- “Every Life Matters -- Every Shot Counts” is the focus of the Knights of Columbus’ Crusade Against Influenza slated to run in the Diocese of Allentown and beyond concurrent with the flu season.

The crusade began October 1 and is slated to run through May 30, 2014.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February but it can begin as early as October and continue as late as May.

Frank Krakowski, chancellor and past grand knight of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Council 14990 in Hellertown, said the program aims to foster better heath and save lives in communities and parishes. The Knights set up a flu-specific website for use by participating councils and the public: www.flucrusade.com

Though the program has been launched in the Diocese of Allentown, Krakowski said the Knights hope it will become a national effort.

The program also is intended as a memorial to David Mueller, son of James Mueller, a fourth-degree Knight, and his wife, Sue. David, a healthy 31-year-old, died in February after four days of illness caused by Influenza B. The Muellers are parishioners of St. Joseph the Worker in Orefield.

“Over the years, the Knights have lost so many members to influenza,” Krakowski told The A.D. Times, Allentown’s diocesan newspaper.

Influenza can be a very serious condition, especially for people in high risk groups -- such as people with diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and other lung diseases. Mueller wasn’t in one of these groups.

Every year, on average, influenza kills 25,000 to 35,000 people of all ages, although mostly the young and elderly, and it puts 250,000 to 350,000 people in the hospital.

Data shows each year the flu vaccines are approximately 60 to 70 percent effective in preventing or reducing the severity of flu cases.

Krakowski said the Muellers, devastated by their loss, agreed to use David’s story as a motivator for people to become more aware of the danger from seasonal influenza, the risks and benefits of receiving a flu shot, and the importance of making an intelligent and informed decision when it comes to opting for or against getting an annual shot.

All 138 councils in northeastern Pennsylvania were asked to be a part of the crusade by hosting flu vaccination awareness events at their own and at least one other church, Catholic or non-Catholic.

The program is intended to be a subunit of the national Knights of Columbus “Support for Life” objective, extending every council’s efforts beyond the fight against abortion.