Community Rallying Around Rowlett Woman Critically Ill With The Flu

A community is rallying around a young woman who is in intensive care after coming down with the flu.

Keri Heal's family said the 36-year-old was perfectly healthy a few days ago, but is now in critical condition with fluid in her lungs and damage to her heart.

"How did this happen? How can you have a healthy child one day and the next day, you don't know what the outcome is going to be?" said Janis Heal, Keri's mother.

Heal said Keri came down with a sore throat and went to the hospital Sunday. Doctors tested Keri for the flu and prescribed Tamiflu. Despite getting immediate treatment, Keri became worse. Heal said that Keri returned to the ER on Monday and by Tuesday, was in intensive care.

"It's devastating, it's horrific," Heal said. "Just two days' time and you're like what could I have done different? The answer is nothing."

Heal said Keri received a flu shot and though it didn't prevent the flu in her case, the family believes Keri's illness could have been worse without it.

While Keri undergoes treatment at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Lake Pointe, hundreds have promised their prayers from around the world.

"The power of prayer to me can be immense, I truly believe in it," said Heal.

Heal shared Keri’s story in a Rowlett Facebook group. In a day, there were more than 700 comments and requests for updates on the young woman known for making friends easily in the community.

"She has Down syndrome," said Heal. "Her life revolves around love."

"She loves everyone and she's just so happy," said Sandy Heft, Keri’s aunt.

"She's kind of the baby doll of our family, she's full of personality," added Heal. "Keri is the most perfect person you would meet."

Heal said she believes Keri will be in the hospital for weeks longer. She wants people to hear her story and understand how fast the flu can harm a healthy person.

"If you get the flu, you need to go to the doctor," said Heal.

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