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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Take one for Raymond and protect yourself from flu

Editor,

I would like to ask the Daily Lobo to promote flu vaccinations for all UNM students, faculty and staff and their families by asking everyone to “Take One for Raymond” this flu season.

Our son, Raymond Plotkin, was a healthy freshman from Houston, Texas, who attended UNM last fall when he was stricken by the H1N1 flu virus.  

In October 2009, H1N1 vaccines were not available to the general public. Raymond had his seasonal flu shot, but he was not protected against the H1N1 strain.

Tragically, Raymond became sick with the virus, entered UNM Hospital on Nov. 7 and died Nov. 11.  
H1N1 attacked Raymond’s heart and lungs. He had no pre-existing conditions in terms of H1N1. He was a normal, healthy 18-year-old student who lived on campus and was enjoying all that University had to offer. He loved UNM and was happy to be a Lobo living in the Engineering LLC, taking classes and making many new friends.

In Raymond’s honor and memory, our family established the Raymond E. Plotkin Scholarship for incoming freshmen students in the School of Engineering.  

We recently awarded Sean Chavez, a computer engineering major from Albuquerque, the first scholarship. In addition to this scholarship, our family has been spreading awareness about the importance of flu vaccination, especially for college students.
This year, the seasonal flu shot has protection against H1N1 and another flu strain. We urge everyone who is able to get their flu shots this year to do so and take one for Raymond. Raymond wasn’t able to get H1N1 protection last year, but you can do it this year to honor his memory as a UNM student.

Our family has been changed forever without our son in our lives any longer.  

However, we are doing all that we can to ensure that this doesn’t happen to any other student or their family. We applaud UNM and UNMH for holding flu vaccinations on campus and in the community, and we encourage everyone to please take advantage of them.
Thank you for your consideration.  Raymond and our family will forever be a part of UNM.

Elaine and Ronnie Plotkin

*Editor’s Note: To make a donation to the Raymond E. Plotkin Endowed Scholarship Fund, please contact Susan Georgia at 505-277-0664 or sgeorgia@unm.edu. *