Ohio Teen, 16, Dies from the Flu Just Days After Spending Christmas with Family

Gabrielle Chung
Ohio Teen, 16, Dies from the Flu Just Days After Spending Christmas with Family

A 16-year-old teenager from Ohio died from flu complications just days after celebrating Christmas with her family.

Kaylee Roberts passed away on New Year’s Eve shortly after being diagnosed with the influenza B virus, according to CNN.

“She was a healthy, happy, normal 16-year-old,” said her uncle, Matthew Roberts, told the outlet. “We knew she had the flu, but we figured it would knock her on her butt for a few days, and then she’d get better. We were never expecting such a grave outcome.”

Kaylee — who did not receive a flu shot this season — started feeling ill just four days before Christmas, CNN reported. She was brought to the emergency room at a hospital in Berea, Ohio on Christmas Eve when she didn’t feel any better.

Kaylee Roberts | GoFundMe

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The teen was prescribed Tamiflu medication and received intravenous fluids for dehydration before returning home, according to the outlet.

“She was coughing, and she looked sick, but just like normal sick,” Matthew, who saw Kaylee at a family gathering on Christmas Day, said. “I didn’t look at her and imagine that she’s near death.”

However, Kaylee’s health continued to decline in the following days and she was taken to the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, where doctors found that her entire left lung and most of her right lung had been struck by pneumonia, CNN reported.

According to local news station WKBN, Kaylee suffered a stroke shortly after her diagnosis.

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“We were all there when they took her off the machines,” Kaylee’s uncle told CNN. “I was trying to hold my brother up. He was breaking down because this was his baby. I was trying my hardest to stay strong and help him, but most of us just lost it.”

Since her death, Kaylee’s family have set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for funeral costs. So far, they have raised over $17,000 from 371 donors, with a goal price of $20,000.

On the page, Kaylee was described as a “beautiful, caring, hardworking, and intelligent young lady” who “cared so much for so many family and friends.”

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“Kaylee was an exceptional singer, animal lover, fashion trend setter, and a wonderful person and had a very bright future ahead,” the description read. “She was always concerned about everyone and how she could help, even in little ways because of her enormous heart and genuine personality.”

A total of 39 flu-associated pediatric deaths have occurred during this flu season, according to the CDC.