23-year-old Rochester Hills woman dies from H1N1 virus

Health officials say young adults are vulnerable to strain of flu

Author: Roger Weber, Local 4 Reporter, @RogerWLocal4, rogerw@wdiv.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 06:35:44 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 14 2014 06:39:30 PM EST
ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -

The Oakland County Health Division says three people in their twenties have died from the flu.

Ashley McCormick, 23, of Rochester Hills died on Dec. 27. Her mother Patricia told Local 4 she never realized the illness could be a threat to young adults.

Read more: 3 adults die from flu in Michigan

“We kept saying, ‘It’s just the flu. It’s just the flu. Everybody gets the flu,'" she said.

Ashley was diagnosed a few days before Christmas. She began to feel better, but worsened on Christmas night.

"She was like, ‘I don’t feel well. Something’s wrong. I can’t breathe,’” said Patricia McCormick.

Her daughter died just days later at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Ashley was diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. Health experts say young and middle-aged adults are vulnerable to that strain of the flu because they didn’t become immune during previous outbreaks.

The Oakland County Health Division is urging everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot. Those between the ages of 2 and 49 have the option of being vaccinated through a nasal spray.

"The young, the middle-aged, the elderly -- they all need it,” said manager Kathy Forzley. "It’s very well matched to the strains circulating this year."

Ashley was a graduate of Rochester High School. She was working as a nanny and hoped to begin a career as a teacher of special needs children.

She was never vaccinated for the flu.

The day after her funeral, her mother, father and brother received a flu shot. Patricia is forming a foundation to urge others to do the same. She asked in a Facebook post that others honor Ashley’s memory by sharing her story.

“We don’t want anyone else to go through what we went through in the last few weeks for something that can be prevented,” she said. “Just get a flu shot. You can save your life and your kid’s life. Just do it.”