LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)- The CDC reported flu related hospitalizations nationwide nearly doubled in the last week and flu activity continues to spread here in Arkansas.
Fourty-nine people have died across the state this season according to the Department of Health and, on the morning of Jan. 16, one little boy passed away less than 24-hours after being diagnosed.
Eight-year-old Tyler Dannaway was diagnosed with the flu. When the morning rolled around, he wasn't getting any better.
“I was downstairs in my office checking emails and I heard something rumbling around so I went into the kitchen and I found Tyler downstairs by himself and he couldn't stand up by himself and he had no control of his legs at all,” said Steve Dannaway, Tyler's father.
His dad picked him up and went to take him back into his room, but Tyler collapsed at the end of the stairs.
“I put my hand in his back and I couldn't feel his chest coming up and down and I couldn't feel any breath coming out of him and I flipped him over on his back and his lips were blue,” he said.
Tyler's parents, Steve and Teresa Dannaway, called an ambulance and he was rushed to the ER.
The Dannaways said they were in the waiting room for less than thirty minutes when they got the news.
“The doctors walked in and did the thing every parent dreads, they pulled the chair up in front of us and we knew. They called his death at eight Tuesday morning,” they said.
Tyler Dannaway was their only son, he was autistic, and was also diagnosed with apraxia.
“Apraxia is a disconnect that didn't let his brain and the muscles - specifically it doesn’t allow his mouth and his brain - to connect,” he said.
His parents said he was special to them but didn't realize how special Tyler was to everyone else.
“The worst thing you can think about is that your child is going to be forgotten and I feared that no one would remember Tyler,” they said.
Within hours of Tyler passing, the love started pouring in.
“Friends started calling, my clients started calling, and people I haven't talked to in 20 years started calling and then we started seeing this outpouring this afternoon from his classmates,” he said.
The Dannaways said that's when they knew their son would never be forgotten.
“He charmed everybody, he charmed the world," they said.
His parents said they know things will get better but for now they're holding on to their precious memories.
Tyler's funeral will be held Saturday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. at Christ the King church.
The Arkansas Autism Foundation is asking anyone from the community to join them in wearing blue in his honor on Jan. 20.
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