Though much of the fear about the H1N1 flu has dissipated, lingering affects of the virus will live on in children with disabilities who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Unlike most flu viruses, H1N1 hit children especially hard and presented particularly big challenges for kids with a neuromuscular disorders like cerebral palsy. In fact, nearly two out of five children who died from the virus, also known as swine flu, had a neuromuscular disability versus one out of five for a typical flu.

Then there are kids like Derek Collette, who survived the H1N1 flu, but will be forever changed by it. Collette, 13, has cerebral palsy and was able to get around, going to school and participating in typical family life. That is, until he contracted the swine flu last May. The virus caused the nerves in Collette’s spine to become inflamed, yielding severe pain and limiting his mobility.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Today, Collette uses a wheelchair. He can no longer attend school. And just putting shoes on his feet proves painful.

Doctors are working to relieve the pain Collette lives with and fundraisers are helping his family pay the mounting medical bills his treatment is accruing. For now, Collette is just happy to be alive, reports USA Today. To read more click here.