Lisa Rasmussen describes her husband Paul as the healthiest person she ever knew.

Paul Rasmussen was a former Mesa police officer enjoying his retirement and relaxing in the great outdoors of Montana.

Then suddenly, everything changed when Paul got sick with the flu last year and didn't recover.

"To see my strong, healthy husband in pain and restrained so he wouldn't pull out the respirator, and with tubes in every orifice of his body, and heavily sedated, it was a nightmare," said Rasmussen.

A month after Paul was admitted to the hospital, he died.

He did not receive a flu shot.

On Monday, Lisa shared her heartbreaking story during a flu awareness event in Mesa.

She's made it her mission to tell everyone about the importance of getting a flu shot.

"Please get a flu vaccine," said Rasmussen. "Challenge your friends, your family and co-workers to do the same. Flu kills. It doesn't care who you are, or how healthy you are."

Every year, between 5 percent and 20 percent of Arizonans get the flu, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, forcing more than 4,000 people to the hospital.

Health officials claim that getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu and potentially spreading it on to others.

"It's especially important because people who are infected with the flu, a lot of them don't even know it," said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director with Maricopa County's Department of Public Health. "They can have symptoms and continue to spread the disease."

A number of free flu vaccination clinics are offering free flu shots this week.

Vaccine for Children's ClinicWednesday, Oct. 115 p.m. to 7 p.m.Superstition Springs Center6555 E. Southern Avenue, Mesa AZ

Henderson Hughes Health FairSaturday, Oct. 1410 a.m. to 2 p.m.101 W. Main Street, Mesa AZ

For more information on other free clinics visit

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

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