A seven-year-old girl who became gravely ill while on vacation has beaten an awful case of the swine flu, her parents tell FOX 35. Jaylea Heim is expected to leave Florida Hospital for Children on Friday.
Heim began showing symptoms of the flu while her family was vacationing last month in the Orlando area. She was diagnosed with the H1N1 strain of the flu, also known as swine flu. Leah Heim said her daughter's flu led to an infection which led to pneumonia. Heim said Jaylea turned a corner about three days after a surgery to clear fluid from around her lungs.
"She woke up from her sedation this one morning, and she was actually smiling and that's when we knew that she had rally started to take a turn for the better," Heim said.
The Heim family is from Philadelphia. As Jaylea recovered, her parents, Leah and Jason, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House and friends and strangers back home raised money through a Go Fund Me site to help with Jaylea's medical bills. About $12,000 was raised.
"We're going to donate some to the Ronald McDonald House and we're hoping to help a family that is in a similar situation to us," Jason Heim said.
Heim said his family has two reasons for sharing Jaylea's story with reporters. First, they want to raise awareness about H1N1.
"We almost lost our little girl and we don't want that to happen to anyone else," he said. "We also know that there's a lot of people that would be concerned about it and would pray for us so we just wanted to get the word out so people could pray."
Now that the Florida Hospital for Children doctors—and the prayers—have done their job, Jaylea can say, "Thanks for praying for me."
She is expected to remain in Orlando for a few days after leaving the hospital so that doctors can keep an eye on her. Jaylea has four siblings waiting for her to return to Philadelphia.