(WFSB) - A mother remembers, after her child dies from the flu virus.

Christy Pugh finds strength at her sewing machine.

Every stitch, every seam, in every quilt she makes, is in memory of her only child, a little girl named Emma Splan.

The daughter she carries in the ink on her arm and in the memories in her heart.

“She was just the sweetest kindest soul you would ever meet,” said Pugh.

Emma was just 6 years old. She was a healthy and happy child who loved to dance and play with her friends.

She had a special passion for animals and could often be found at the Norwalk Animal Shelter reading to the rescues.

“She was the kid who would go up to the kid who had nobody to play with,” Pugh said.

But on Sunday, February 18th, Emma’s bright light went dark.

She became the second child in Connecticut this year to die from the flu.

It happened just 5 days after Emma came home from school with a runny nose.

“But then she started getting grumpy, which really isn't like her. So, I said you know, let's go take her in and see if we can do anything for her,” Pugh said.

At the doctor's office they learned it was the flu.

Emma did get a flu shot, but the vaccine is not 100 percent effective.

Still, there was no cause for alarm.

“We just kept Emma home from school the next day, Valentine's Day. Played, kept her drinking a lot of fluids, soups, Pedialyte all that kind of stuff, and she was fine,” said Pugh.

Over the next several days, Emma continued to improve.

But Friday night, she started vomiting.

Her parents took her to the pediatric urgent care, where she was given anti-nausea medication and sent home.

But the vomiting continued, so they drove Emma to Stamford Hospital.

“They were doing IV’s and all sorts of stuff, running tests for a million things and then she really went downhill,” Pugh said.

On a snowy night, Emma was rushed by ambulance to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

At first, she seemed to improve.

“She was sitting up, she went to the bathroom, she was talking, she wanted an ice pack,” Pugh said,

Then, the unthinkable happened.

“And then she had the oxygen thing, it's like the tube rests on your neck and she doesn't like things on her neck. And so then she said it was choking her, and then she coughed, and she died,” said Pugh.

Emma died from myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle.

The flu virus had damaged her big and loving heart.

Doctors tried for 30 minutes to get her heart beating again, but there was nothing anyone could do.

“I have no idea how we walked out of there. I mean it took hours for us to leave the room. It was horrible,” Pugh said.

Life without their little girl will never be the same, but Pugh finds comfort in knowing they did all they could to help Emma.

That's why she is urging all parents to protect their children this flu season.

“Please get them the flu shot. I mean Emma had the flu shot, we did everything right. We didn't not take her to the doctor, you know we did everything correctly and it still took Emma away from us. It's not, the flu, it's not a joke. I do not want anyone else to have to go through this. And I don't want anyone else to feel if it did happen to them, guilty or upset that maybe they could have done something to prevent it,” Pugh said.

Pugh’s focus now is making sure Emma’s kind spirit lives on.

So far, she has raised $5,000 for dance scholarships at Emma’s ballet school and $4,000 dollars for the animals Emma loved so much at the shelter.

“Now that she's gone, we are carrying it on making it even bigger, hopefully touching more people, spreading her sparkle everywhere. We just want to make her proud.

If you would like to donate to Emma’s Plan, click here.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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