Healthy father dies within weeks after catching flu virus - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Healthy father dies within weeks after catching flu virus, Genesee Co. family urging flu shots

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(01/23/14) - A strong, healthy father of three is dead and his family wonders if a flu shot could have prevented the tragedy.

A Genesee County family is getting ready to bury 61-year-old Mark Graff.

They said he was healthy just a few weeks ago, but he caught the flu and he was gone in an instant.

Now they have a powerful message to share with the community.

The family said Graff exercised, he didn't smoke and he stayed strong and healthy.

But he lost his battle with the H1N1 flu virus and his family is left in shock.

"I asked God to take me, I'm 93 I don't need to live any more," said Mark's mother, Margy Holbrook. "But He didn't do it."

Holbrook didn't get to say goodbye to her son - it happened too fast.

Graff grew up in Flint, graduated from Flint schools and started a life out in Colorado.

But a few weeks ago, he caught the flu.

"Three weeks ago, he was the most happy healthy person in this world and it just grabs you like a piece of paper and twists you up and throws you away," Holbrook said.

No existing medical conditions and no warning. A simple case of the flu turned deadly in days.

"My son never knew what hit him, never knew what hit him. It was just like somebody might as well take a pistol and shoot him because he was gone," Holbrook said.

He had three kids and four grand kids and became a successful business man, producing his own earth-friendly cleaning solution, Bio Green Clean.

But now his family is bringing his body back to Flint for a funeral, and they hope this sad story can save someone else's life.

"I don't think anybody realizes to the depth that it's actually out there and killing people," said Joanna White, Mark's niece.

"Everybody, I don't care if they're 5 years old or 85 yearsold, get a shot," Holbrook said.

We know of eight confirmed flu-related deaths here in Michigan within the last month.

The Genesee County Health Department is confirming 147 hospitalized cases of flu from Oct. 1 - Jan. 13.

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