Just days after 41-year-old Spring resident Holly Munsinger died of the flu, her friend Michelle Becker founded Shots for Holly to educate others about the virus and help prevent it with flu shots.
“She did not have a flu shot; she contracted the flu; and it was too late when she went to the doctor for the Tamiflu,” Becker said. “So her organs started to shut down. They had to put her in a medically induced coma, and she lasted 12 days.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine can keep recipients from getting the flu, minimize symptoms for those who get sick and help protect others from contracting the flu.
“When she died I asked a lot of my friends here in Cypress, ‘Do you guys get flu shots?’ and the answer was no, for the most part,” Becker said. “My original idea was to rent a bus and pick everyone up to go to the pharmacy together and make it like a party.”
Not long after incorporating, Shots for Holly’s board of directors purchased a 1973 Volkswagen bus to serve as the organization’s mascot. Becker said the nonprofit wanted the bus to be more than just a source of transportation—they wanted it to emulate Munsinger’s free-spirited, loving personality.
Since launching in 2014, Shots for Holly has partnered with Walgreens and Christus Foundation for HealthCare to provide flu shot clinics at Cypress Assistance Ministries, the Cy-Fair ISD Health Expo and other community events. Becker said the organization has helped facilitate more than 1,500 vaccinations.
The funds raised at the organization’s annual spring fundraiser called Holly on the Range determine how much the group spends in the following flu season.
This year, the event brought in about $9,000, which will primarily be used to purchase flu shots from September through the end of January 2019, Becker said.
Becker said the nonprofit works to dispel myths about flu shots, asking individuals what their objections are, presenting scientific research and offering alternative options such as preservative-free vaccines.
“When we tell them that ... they don’t make you sick, then they feel better about it,” she said.