Family sends warning after 9-year-old dies from flu

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HIAWATHA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Kansas is now seeing the highest flu activity compared to other states.

This week 9-year-old Leighya Marie DeLong became one of the many Kansans to get sick with the flu, but her case turned deadly.
Leighya’s aunt, Heather DeLong describes her as an outgoing and caring girl. She said Leighya was all about family and had an unforgettable personality.

“Actually she never got sick. She was a pretty healthy girl, always happy,” said Heather.

That changed this past weekend when she came down with the flu. She visited the hospital on Saturday and when she didn’t feel better the next day, she went back to the hospital. On Monday she passed away. Her family is still in shock.

“When it comes to your 9-year-old niece, you don’t think about it,” said Heather. “You don’t think about stuff like that when it comes to the younger ones in the family.”

Now her family is sharing her memory in hopes that it sends a message to others.

“If you’re sick, stay home. If you’re coughing, sneezing, running a fever, stay home,” said Heather. “It’s not worth it, it’s really not.”

There has been a fundraiser set up in Leighya’s name. You can find that here.

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