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6-Year-Old Dies Of Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever
Not long ago, Emilee Russell finished Kindergarten and had so much to look forward to.
Her teacher at Black Mountain Primary says sudden illness took her prized pupil away.
She died Wednesday of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever after being bit by a tick while visiting family in Texas. She passed away at Louisiana State University Hospital.
"This is the best memories that I have of Miss Emily. Where she was happy and smiling," says Ashley Styles, opening the gate to the school playground.
"She would sit right there on that little red bench and take it all in and enjoy it," Styles recalls. "It's hard to think that she's gone."
Emilee's dad is a battalion chief at Black Mountain fire department. Chief Steve Jones says the little girl was there frequently with twin brother Charles.
"Just... that pretty little smile... she could just look at you with that smile and break your heart," Chief Jones says.
Her teacher hopes there's a lesson in this story that may save lives.
"I definitely want people to be more aware of what a small tick bite can do," Styles says.
There are two fundraisers planned to help raise money for Emilee's family to cover medical expenses.
The first is a Spaghetti Supper, hosted by the fire department at the Lakeview Center on June 21st.
There's also a "Day For Emilee" at Lake Tomahawk Park on July 6th, organized by Styles.
By John Le
Follow John on Twitter @AbsoluteLe