TUSCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — The mother of a 24-year old who died from the flu says she never saw it coming.
Chantelle Clark died from an unidentified flu strain and pneumonia. She’s a mother of two. Clark’s mom says she’s still in shock.
It’s hard enough to attend the funeral for one of your own kids, but it’s unimaginable to lose one to a common illness most people fight at some point in their lives. This year’s flu bug is not to be messed with, but Jennifer Clark says she doesn’t believe a flu shot would have saved her daughter.
“We’d all had the flu, and just really thought she needed to rest,” she says.
Clark didn’t know her daughter, Chantelle, was sick until the morning of the day she died: Wednesday, February 14.
“Chantelle had a doctor’s appointment on Monday that was unrelated to the flu,” says Clark, “and she, from what I understand, didn’t start feeling bad until Monday night. Then her boyfriend tried to get her to go to the emergency room on Tuesday, but everybody had had the flu and she thought they’d just send her home.”
Clark says her daughter didn’t get a flu shot, but the coroner says Chantelle’s death was caused by an unidentified strain. Because of that, Clark is less concerned with encouraging more people to get vaccinated, and more with what symptoms Chantelle might have had when she saw the doctor two days before her death.
“I would definitely encourage people to get a flu shot, but more importantly, I would encourage doctors and medical professionals to take people seriously when they go in,” she says.
Clark already knew to take tragedy seriously. This isn’t her first round of unexpected tears.
“Chantelle is actually my biological niece. My sister passed away when she was 35 and Chantelle was 8, and I adopted her, and I had to tell Chantelle that her mom died. And then I had to turn around and tell her daughter that her mom died.”
Now Clark is taking care of Chantelle’s 4- and 5-year old kids.
“We’re trying to figure out a new normal to our life.”
It’s a sad story, and Chantelle Clark is only one part of a growing national death toll. But there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.
The CDC says flu activity has finally started dropping off, which means the worst of the season may be behind us.