PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — The family of a Port Orchard 12-year-old is devastated. Piper Lowery's family says the sixth-grader died on Saturday from the flu.
"You never think they're going to die from something like this,” Piper's mother, Pegy Lowery, said Wednesday. "She was just our everything. She is still our everything."
Piper Lowery started feeling sick last week; her throat hurt and she had a high fever.
Pegy Lowery, who also had the flu, took Piper to the doctor three times: last Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Piper started taking Tamiflu on Tuesday, and on Thursday an urgent care doctor added antibiotics. On Friday her pediatrician added steroids.
Piper still had a high fever and difficulty breathing. She also suffered from asthma.
On Saturday morning, Piper told her mother her stomach hurt and threw up blood.
Her mom drove the 12-year-old from their home in Port Orchard to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, but she collapsed before she could get inside.
Piper died a couple of hours later.
"Her doctor said since the flu had attacked her kidneys. They said it was like a freight train coming that no one would have seen until it came," said Pegy Lowery.
Her family said she didn't have a flu shot.
They are finding comfort in Piper's faith and their own.
"The biggest comfort: she believed in Jesus, she loved Jesus, " said Lowery.
On Wednesday, the Kitsap County Health Department announced its first pediatric flu death since 2009.
The health department could not confirm if it was the death of Piper Lowery.
Doctors say it shows flu cases are on the rise and that it is not too late to get the flu shot.
"So it takes about two weeks to become immune to influenza after you get the shot and there's plenty of time for people to get their flu shots," said Dr. Susan Turner, Kitsap County’s health officer.
Dr. Turner said it is most important for children under age 6, pregnant women, adults over 65 and anyone with a chronic medical condition, to get a flu shot. She said people who have the flu should stay home until the symptoms clear, and wait 24 hours after a fever is gone.
Piper Lowery's memorial service is on Saturday at noon at Bethany Lutheran Church in Port Orchard.
"Our lives will never be the same, never be the same," said Pegy Lowery.