Rowlett Woman Dies after Battle with Flu

A 36-year-old Rowlett woman has died after suffering complications from the flu.

Keri Heal's mother said Heal developed pneumonia and suffered damage to her heart after falling ill with the flu last week. Heal was hospitalized in intensive care since last Tuesday.  She died Friday, according to family.

Relatives launched a Go Fund Me page over the weekend.

The Rowlett community had rallied around Heal as she fought for her life. Last Thursday, Heal's mother sat down with NBC 5.

"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.

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.

Last week, 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."

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