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The Kristi and Carole Yamaguchi Interview (Page 2 of 3)

An Interview with Kristi and Carole Yamaguchi

Carole Yamaguchi:  I think I really took it seriously while Kristi was skating and starting to train for international competitions.  We had a skater in the 1988 Olympics who was not able to complete the competition. She developed the flu and could not get out of bed to skate her long program. That is a lifetime of hard work and dedication to a sport. Not to be able to show it off is such a shame because a simple vaccine probably would have helped her. After that , I decided my kids were getting vaccinated. At the time, I did not know Kristi would be an Olympian, but I knew all my kids were active in various sports and school. I had gotten the flu before and it is miserable. Nobody wants to be sick like that.

Gary Barg:  It is especially important for everybody who is caring people who might have compromised systems.

Carole Yamaguchi: Caregivers should be vaccinated because it is a virus that is contagious and you are exposing other people.

Gary Barg:  Who do you think should not be vaccinated?  Who falls outside the range?

Carole Yamaguchi:  The only group that is outside the range is any babies under the age of six months. Everyone else is in the category the CDC recommends.

Gary Barg:  So do not be afraid of it. It is worse as a caregiver to not pay attention to the flu and the vaccinations and hope nothing happens than to go ahead and get the vaccination.

Kristi Yamaguchi:  Yes.  It is definitely a proactive thing to do and I think everyone who has ever had the flu knows that they want to avoid that.  It can really put you down for two weeks or more if there are complications.  Being involved with this campaign, I have learned of a lot of tragic stories that hit close to home, especially being a mother now.  Knowing that some of these tragedies can be avoided with a vaccine, it just makes me want to get the word out even more.

Gary Barg:  If you had a family caregiver sitting in front of you who is saying,” I do not know, maybe I do not want to do this, I feel that it is risky” or whatever, what is the one most important thing you could actually say about making sure they get the influenza vaccination?

Kristi Yamaguchi:  If they are a family caregiver, I would say, “I want as much protection around my family as possible, so I urge you to get this vaccine.  I think it is important because the flu is highly contagious and I do not want my family exposed to it.  I think it is important if you are around people who have compromised immune systems and you are in contact, in close quarters, taking care of people, to take that step of prevention.”

Gary Barg:  Let me ask you about another thing.  I love your foundation, the Always Dream Foundation.  I also love the phrase, “always dream.”  I know dreaming and hard work are what got you where you are, Kristi, but what can you tell me about a) the foundation and b) that phrase, because that is what we say to family caregivers?  We host conferences around the country called Fearless Caregiver and “always dream” just fits that so perfectly—that there is hope.

 

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