A preliminary finding shows that Influenza B killed 12-year-old Dylan Winnik, a West Palm Beach boy who died Tuesday after battling the flu for just a few days, the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Office said.
When symptoms started, Dylan’s family thought he just had a cold – something much easier to recover from than the flu. The Okeeheelee Middle School student actually seemed to be feeling better on Tuesday morning, eating a large pancake breakfast and talking with his dad. His temperature reading was 98 degrees, his stepfather Mike Medwin said.
Hours later, the 12-year-old boy died suddenly, leaving his family shocked and grieving at the unexpected loss.
“To think that my little brother, I’m never going to see him again — it’s unexplainable," Sebastian Roa, Dylan's older brother, said. “How does this happen?”
The medical examiner said the preliminary finding from the State Health Laboratory was based on real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. In a tweet, the office said “Influenza B tragically killed Dylan Winnik based on the preliminary finding.”A final confirmation is forthcoming.
Medwin said Dylan was not vaccinated for the flu this year. He and Roa urge everyone to take the flu seriously.
“I want people to not take this lightly ... Go to doctor, hospital, whatever you need to do. Go," Roa said.
The Florida Department of Health reports that three kids died from the flu this season. If the medical examiner determines that Dylan’s death resulted from the flu, he would be the fourth case.
Dylan's family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Dylan's funeral and memorial. So far, more than $22,000 in donations have been raised.
"There is nothing that can ever explain the loss of a beautiful child at such an early age," the GoFundMe reads.
"Dylan was highly intelligent, surprisingly funny, and always full of life busy with his two brothers. On behalf of the family, in the most devastating and humble of circumstances, we have setup this GoFundMe campaign to help ask for any donations whatsoever to help ensure they're able to remember and celebrate Dylan's life with a memorial and funeral."
Click here to view the GoFundMe page.