BETHLEHEM, Ga. - A Loganville family is heartbroken after a 7-year-old girl died after suffering flu-related symptoms.
Emily's grandparents talked about the little girl's life and about their devastating loss. Sitting side by side, Margie Maddox and her husband Todd talk about the pain no parent or grandparent should ever have to endure. the couple lost their one and only granddaughter, Emily, whom they called Emma, Thursday morning to what the family calls flu-related symptoms.
The Maddoxs said Emily was a healthy and happy 7-year-old more than a week ago, just before she came down with a stomach bug and never recovered.
Emily Maddox was a first grader at Youth Elementary School in Loganville. The school district sent home a letter notifying parents of her death. On Friday, grief counsels were on hand to help students and teachers cope with the loss.
Her grandmother also set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses and as of Friday afternoon, they've already raised more than $17,000.
The Maddoxs are urging parents to take their children to the doctor at the first sign of illness and not wait. They also are thanking the community for its love and support including area businesses that are helping with expenses.
Georgia health officials Friday said 79 people have died from flu complications so far this season. Three children have died including a 15-year-old girl from Coweta County and a 15-year-old boy from DeKalb County.
More than 1,800 people have been hospitalized this season. Of those, 165 were just within the last week.