H5N1 victim ‘wanted to help people', family says

Colourized transmission electron micrograph of Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses (seen in gold) grown...

Colourized transmission electron micrograph of Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses (seen in gold) grown in MDCK cells (seen in green) are shown in this 1997 image. (CDC / Cynthia Goldsmith, Jackie Katz, Sharif Zaki)

NICOLE BERGOT, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:25 PM ET

EDMONTON — The “devastated” family of North America’s first H5N1 flu victim says the young Red Deer, Alta., nurse’s goal in life was to help others.

“Our beloved daughter and wife was a hard-working, independent young woman,” her family said in a statement released Friday by Alberta Health Services.

“She grew up in China, and in high school she decided that she wanted to become a nurse.”

The woman, who the family did not name, came to Canada as a young student, and spent the past 10 years working towards becoming a nurse, eventually studying at Red Deer College and then getting a job as a nurse at Red Deer Regional Hospital.

“This was her dream; and she studied and worked extremely hard to achieve this. She wanted to help people. She also wanted a career that would allow her to provide for her family and to support those she loved.”

The victim, in her late 20s, was returning to Alberta from a trip to Beijing on Dec. 27 with her mother when she began suffering from headaches, fever, and general weakness symptoms.

She was hospitalized on Jan. 1 and died two days later.

Her family went on to say she achieved a “tremendous amount” for them.

“She was successful and providing for those in her life. She was a uniquely independent and determined young woman,” her family said in the statement.

“She married her husband a year and a half ago; and together they created a happy life in Red Deer.”


Photos