Raphaël, our love for you is eternal… (2012)

Raphaël, our little baby, got wings when he just turned 2 months old… 2 months of perfect true happiness, but short, so short !

In one week, we witnessed his way down to the death. What first seemed to be a simple bronchiolitis turned out to be whooping cough that gave him no chance at all. Rapid weakening, heavy respiratory failure, intensive care unit, ECMO, …  
And the last minutes, the awful ache to feel our baby passing away in our arms…

Augustin left us in 2012.
Our joy of life vanished… The disease took him away from us.
Our baby has been treated for a bronchiolitis during 10 days of which 7 in intensive care unit.
It is only after having carried out an autopsy that we discovered that it was whooping cough !!
We didn’t know anything about the dangers of this disease !
Nobody told us that the cocoon vaccination was highly recommended.
Augustin was so strong, so beautiful, too much to be true we guess.
We don’t wish this to anyone else…







Jude is Cyrille & Amanda's first child. When he was born, he weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces, and he measured 21 inches. His arms were long, and he had big hands with long fingers.
He was a very pleasant baby—not too many tears, not too much poop. He would sometimes get frustrated during feeding, since he had trouble hooking his mouth up to the milk machine (a.k.a. Amanda). A doctor recommended swaddling to calm him down. Kinda like putting him in a straight jacket, but it worked well. We sometimes swaddled him in a white cloth.
During his life, Jude was lucky enough to meet both of his grandmothers, one of his grandfathers, and all of his aunts and uncles on his dad's side, not to mention some friends of the family and a few of the neighbors. Somewhere along the line, he also met a nasty bug.
In late November, just over a month after he was born, we took him to a doctor because he was coughing. We were told he was just fine. We ended up taking him to another doctor, who also told us he was fine. Eventually, we took him to see a pediatric nurse from child protection services to see what she thought, and when she saw him cough, she jumped out of her seat and told us to go straight to the emergency room.
At the hospital, the doctors told us they suspected bronchiolitis, based on his symptoms. They took a blood sample for testing just to be sure, but it was a Friday night and the results wouldn't come in until Monday since the lab was closed on weekends. In the mean time, we all stayed in the hospital and Jude received daily massages from a physical therapist to treat the supposed bronchiolitis.
Come Monday, a doctor examined Jude and said that his respiratory system was perfectly clear. We were given a prescription to continue the massages at home for one more week, and then we were released from the hospital.
Needless to say, this was not the end of the story.
That week, the physical therapist came every day. Amanda asked him how he thought Jude was responding to the treatment, and he said he was seeing improvement from one day to the next. On Friday, Jude was scheduled for a check-up with our family physician. She took one look at him and said that something was wrong.
An ambulance picked us up right at the doctor's office and took us back to the emergency room. The doctors on duty checked his record and noticed that his bronchiolitis test from the week before had come back negative. He had been receiving treatment for an illness he didn't have for an entire week. Meanwhile, the illness he did have had had a chance to get worse.
That illness was whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Jude had the malignant form of it, and by the time it was diagnosed it had reached a deadly stage. The doctors treated him as best they could, literally pumping him full of antibiotics and other medications through a series of tubes. We were told from the start that he had no hope of surviving. We didn't believe it. We spent a week at Jude's bedside, reading him stories and decorating his hospital room. By the following Sunday, the doctors had changed their minds; it appeared Jude would pull through. He died the next morning.
We love him, we miss him, and we think of him every day.


My name is Anissa and I was born on June 29, 2009 after 32 weeks pregnancy.
I spent quite a long time with my mum in neonatalogy where we suffered great harships.
She stayed by my side more than 10 hours a day to encourage me to fight for my life.
Two months later, I was allowed to come home with my loving mum.
After a fortnight at home, I began to cough.  Mama, worried called the GP who sent us to the hospital to have a paediatric opinion.
First diagnosis : bronchiolitis, but as my mama was getting more and more worried about the deterioration of my situation, I’ve been transferred to Brussels, in ICU.
The day after, they finally found that I got whooping cough, a devastating form of it which gave me no chance at all to survive.
I passed away in agony on Sept 4th after an operation meant to relieve my heart, but it didn’t help…

I left mama with a huge sentiment of emptiness… If everyone would have got a vaccine, I would still be here today !
I beg you, Get vaccinated please !

Isabella & Gabriella

Hello my name is Gabriella , I am the smaller twin with the Orange babygrow , my sister is Isabella but, mummy and Daddy called her Bella.
My mummy had us at 37 weeks pregnant, Bella was breech!
I weighed 4 pounds 9 oz and Bella weighed 5 pounds 7 oz. We were both very good weights and very healthy, We made our mummy and daddy very proud. We were conceived by IVF.
Our older sisters April 10, Holly 7 and Jodie 3 loved us both very much and couldn't wait for us to come home from Hospital.
Mummy was tired but, very , very happy . Then on Friday 5th of September Bella started coughing and was sleeping lots, on Saturday she wouldn't wake up and mummy and daddy got worried and took Bella to Hospital, the doctor sent Bella back home saying it was viral and not to worry. On Sunday Bella was worse, she was floppy and pale. Daddy rushed her back to the hospital and then they started doing tests. By Monday my big sister was very poorly and couldn't breathe by herself and needed cpap.
She was taken to a special children's hospital where they tried to save my big sister Bella.
The doctor told mummy and daddy Bella was dying!!! Their world collapsed. Bella was quickly baptised in the hospital, the doctor placed Bella in mummy's arms and they switched the machines off . After a very short period of time, our beautiful Bella died with mummy and daddy cradling her.
They couldn't believe it , we there beautiful newborn twins were only 29 days old! How could this happen?

We found out Bella had died from whooping cough. Mummy wasn't given the vaccine while we were inside her even tho she had asked for it.
It is a miracle I didn't contract this terrible disease which took my big sister away .

We think of Bella everyday, we miss her everyday, she is with us always, she is my other half.

RIP beautiful Bella our angel baby




Maëline was born in 2005.  Everything was OK till she was two weeks old.  She started coughing, a strange cough and her lips were turning blue.
I was scared, I went right away to my paediatrician who thought immediately about whooping cough and she sent us to the hospital.
Maëline has been connected to all kinds of devices, she wasn’t going very well, her heart was weak, she was breathing difficultly, she was coughing, she was really blue…
The doctor on duty didn’t know what to do !!  We were getting more and more angry confronted with such a level of incompetence and we ordered Maëline to be rushed to another hospital in Brussels.
At midnight, she moved to Brussels in an ambulance but we were not allowed to step inside.  We had to wait one hour…. What an awful injustice for parents…
At St-Luc Hospital, her state worsened further the next days.  She has been admitted in ICU, she’s now under oxygen supply, connected to machines everywhere, fed through a tube and the visiting hours are very limited, only a few hours per day…
The whooping cough test turned out to be positive.  She will stay in ICU for two weeks, her heart is boosted with caffeine given in intravenous injection, her brain is also tested, she has dozens of needles in her small head…
After two weeks, she’s allowed to move back to the paediatric ward.  She will stay there for another month and she will stay for two months more in another hospital.
Maëline in now 10 years old and thank goodness she has no consequences.
I am aware that we had an incredible stroke of luck that she still may be alive and I am deeply saddened at reading the stories of other parents…
Please vaccinate your kids, it’s so important !
Maëline’s mother


Hello everyone,
Our little baby girl got whooping cough when she was only two months old.
Despite the fact that we, her parents, were vaccinated, she had to start to fight against this nasty bacteria.
In the beginning, she had mild coughing fits but with the time, they became more and more intense.
Sofia turned red, gasped for air and we had to help her until the fits stopped.
Day and night, impossible to leave her alone.
After having been admitted in the Emergency Unit, it became very clear for everyone why she turned blue during the fits, the rate of oxygen in her blood was far too low, and this is one of the symptoms of whooping cough… coughing was really exhausting for such a little baby.
After having spent two weeks in the paediatric ward and four days in PICU, the coughing fits were still present.
The Saturday night has been terrible, it has been a fight life vs death for our little doll.
Whooping cough can be very severe and even lethal for young babies.
At present, she fights once again against a bronchitis, the one after the other.
Her immune system has been seriously tainted and we already know that she will be very often the first child to be ill.
We consider the hospital as our second home and each time, doctors try to find solutions, inhalers, puffers, … and about the doses, she’s not allowed to get more, she’s at the maximum and that makes it even more frustrating.
As parents, there is nothing more we can do, just wait and hope in better days as Sofia will grow up.
She has often to stay home, she can’t go to the crèche, but she still keeps smiling!
Whooping cough spreads because of a percentage of the population who don’t get vaccinated.
We hope with our story to heighten public awareness and even to make them change their mind.
Please get vaccinated !

Mum & Dad



If you, you child, your family have been in touch with whooping cough and its severe consequences, and if you feel that your testimony can help to a better awareness and a better prevention, I kindly invite you to join us.

Or if you know someone concerned by whooping cough, I’d propose you to tell them to take contact with us, if they need it.