ADA, Mich. -- Audrey Lou Jandernoa, a five-year-old girl with special needs, died unexpectedly Friday night after complications with pneumonia and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Friends and family remember Jandernoa as a fun-loving child with a contagious smile and vigor for life, making her untimely death a tragedy in the Forest Hills community.
The child was a student at Ada Elementary in their Early Childhood Special Education Program.
"There was something special about Audrey that brought about a smile and a warmth of the heart to anyone who came in contact with her," said Dan Behm, superintendent of Forest Hills Schools.
Dr. Dan Mcgee, pediatric hospitalist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, says RSV acts like a common cold in healthy adults but can be deadly in young children or people with a weak immune system.
He says RSV is common and hospitals keep staff at a different level during winter months to combat the illness.
Both Dr. McGee and Behm say there are simple steps you can take to prevent the spread of illness and infection. "For now, the only way you can help prevent it is, like with every other illness, is through good hand-washing and keeping away from people who are ill," Dr. McGee said.
There is a celebration of life Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. at St. Nicholas Cultural Center in Grand Rapids, followed by a vigil service at 7:30 p.m.
Jandernoa's funeral is for friends and family on Wednesday at St. Robert of Newminster Catholic Church in Ada at 11 a.m.