11-year-old NY boy dies of flu complications despite being vaccinated in second such death in county in 15 years

Ashley Calanni, of Hamburg in Erie County, revealed that her son Luca Calanni died on Saturday at Oishei Children’s Hospital.


                            11-year-old NY boy dies of flu complications despite being vaccinated in second such death in county in 15 years
(Getty Images)

An upstate New York boy tragically succumbed to complications from the flu just a month after celebrating his 11th birthday despite being vaccinated. In a conversation with local news station WTKR, Ashley Calanni, of Hamburg in Erie County, revealed that her son Luca Calanni died Saturday at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

“I want him to be remembered for the wonderful boy he was, and not just another flu-related death,” the devastated mom said. “He was vaccinated, and we did everything possible to prevent and to help him.”

Luca reportedly came down with the flu just last week. His family subsequently took him to the doctor three days in a row for some respite.

Ashley revealed that Luca had received fluids at the hospital on January 8, and was finally feeling better after being diagnosed with septic shock. However, he later went into cardiac arrest. “He was passionate about life, everything about it,” she told WKBW. “No matter where we were he lit up a room, and if he didn’t know someone he made sure they knew him. If someone was sitting alone, he would sit with them. He was that kid.”

Heartbroken father Roger "Bodge" Calanni said his son made him "a better person."

“He had the ability to think big. He was always aware of everything going on around him,” he told the outlet.

Luca was a student at Frontier's Pinehurst Elementary School. According to his family, he was an avid sports fan and diligently followed the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, New York Yankees and Ohio State University, which he hoped to attend someday.

Roger remembered how Luca had made a rather profound statement during a recent stop at a gas station. “‘Dad if we win the lottery, can we start a foundation?’” Roger recalled his son saying. “‘I want to help kids who aren’t as lucky as I am and experience the things that I have. That would be really fun, I would love to do that.’”

“I told him, ‘Bud, someday you’re going to help change for the good of not just Western New York but something bigger than that," the father responded. “Maybe you’ll be a doctor and help find a cure for something, maybe you’ll be an engineer and you’ll design something to save."

Dr. Gale Burstein, the Erie County health commissioner, said Luca was only the second child to die from the flu in the county in 15 years.

However, he noted there were many more flu cases this season "compared to other years."

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