Family mourns, celebrates life of young Missoula flu victim

Posted at 4:06 PM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 17:41:42-05

MISSOULA – The family of a six-year-old girl is remembering the joy she left others here on Earth.

State and local health officials have confirmed that Allison Eaglespeaker, 6, passed away on Saturday due to the flu — marking the first influenza-related death of the 2018-2019 flu season in Montana.

Allison’s family gathered on Monday evening to grieve and honor the life of their little girl.

“Her smile. She had this flawless smile that when God made her. He took his time her smile. She could just walk into the room and steal the show with her beautiful smile,” Allison’s father Charles Eaglespeaker recalled.

From the time she was a baby, Allison charmed anyone she met and her parents say she was a happy-go-lucky baby. But, she struggled with asthma and on Friday her condition got so bad that her mother took her to the hospital.

Allison’s family gathered on Monday evening to grieve and honor the life of their little girl.

“Her O² stats were falling. If you looked at her you couldn’t tell that she was suffering,” Allison’s mother Crystal White Shield said.

Within moments of arriving at the hospital, Allison was quickly moved to the ICU where doctors were fighting against a dangerous combination of the flu, pneumonia and asthma.

During the fight of her life, Allison chose courage and told her mom she would be brave.

“I’ll never forget the way she that she said that because — just by her saying that — it reminded me that I need to be brave, too,” Crystal said.

Allison passed away on Saturday after battling for more than a day in the hospital.

“My last interaction with her, I was tickling her feet and tickling her side – she’s ticklish on her side – she smiled even though she had her mask – she was smiling,” Crystal told MTN News.

The parents said it all happened so quickly. They, also remind parents to look for the signs such as excessive coughing — and also to get kids vaccinated against the flu.

The family had a memorial service on Monday night in Missoula and will have a burial service in Starr School Montana in the near future.

Reporting by Kent Luetzen for MTN News