A native of Belgium and accountant by profession, Danny Darche was looking forward to expanding his family with his new wife, Katrien. Before they knew it, their wish for a baby was granted. Their daughter Lore was born on Aug 17th, 2010. Sadly, only 83 days later she died from pertussis (whooping cough), a vaccine-preventable disease. From that day on, Danny knew that his life was never going to be the same. Only one thing mattered now- the promise he made to Lore just 10 seconds before she passed, “the promise to lead an endless war against whooping cough, the promise to never rest and never give up.”
Together Katrien and Danny felt immediately that the loss of Lore might serve as a tragic reminder for parents about the importance of immunizations and thus possibly save another child’s life. They started their own awareness campaign through the creation of a website and the publication of an article in a local newspaper. It didn’t take long for the international media to relay the story of Lore in newspapers, on television, through social media, and on the radio. Danny and Katrien were also invited to speak at international conferences and to work together with the Belgian health authorities on a better communication strategy.
The main goal of their campaign is to provide expecting parents with the vital information they need: protect your baby by protecting yourself first. As a means of safeguarding infants who are too young to be immunized, they encourage mothers to get a booster before or during pregnancy and family members and caregivers to be up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Danny and Katrien believe the best means of bringing awareness to the issue is by enlisting the support of policy makers and healthcare providers. Their strategy recently paid off when the Belgian Superior Health Council updated their guidelines on pertussis vaccination in Aug 2013. “We dedicate this victory to Lore, and each time we hear that someone got vaccinated during their pregnancy on medical advice, we consider it a great victory. I draw my inspiration, my strength, my motivation from my two deceased baby girls* and from the all the other little victims of whooping cough.” Danny will continue to raise awareness, just as he promised Lore. “Its absolutely intolerable to die from a vaccine preventable disease in the 21st century. I cannot accept this and I will fight for that cause until the day I die.”
For more information on their awareness campaign, visit http://loredarche.be/ or you can read a blog post on the Vaccine Ambassador website about Lore and pertussis: http://vaccineambassadors.org/vaccines-arent-just-for-kids-protect-your-kids-by-protecting-yourself/
*Tragically almost two years after Lore’s death, Danny and Katrien suffered another terrible loss when their daughter Aude arrived stillborn at 38.5 weeks.