THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) — A touching prayer vigil was held Friday evening for 14-year-old Gabriella Chabot.
The flu killed her.
She would have turned 15 next week.
KCAL9’s Tom Wait said hundreds came to pay their respects and to remember the vibrant young woman.
Scores of friends and parents and teachers poured out of the vigil, many still clearly trying to come to grips with losing a member of their community so young.
Chabot attended La Reina Middle/High School in Thousand Oaks.
“My granddaughter was in class with Gabriella,” said Sharon Hobbie. “She was very good friends with her.”
Hobbie acknowledged the shock many were feeling.
“Totally shocked. How does someone 14 get the flu this bad? She was a healthy, beautiful girl.”
Throughout the day, students did their best to comfort one another.
On Facebook, Gabriella’s father Michael wrote, “Today I experienced the day that no parent should. I lost my daughter…my angel Gabriella Chabot. We are heartbroken.”
Doctors have been sounding the alarms about getting flu shots this season.
“It’s so tragic, and there is just a higher number, a higher occurrence of this happening,” said Dr. Carlos Reyes.
He said he could not recall a worse flu season.
“Part of the complication,” he said, “is that the vaccine is not covering all the different strains. That’s one. And the treatment of flu has been limited by a couple of medications that aren’t fully protective either.”
He said anyone experiencing flu symptoms to not wait — see your primary care physician immediately.
“The tragic thing about these flu cases is that they’re pretty fast when it happens,” Reyes said.
For Gabriella Chabot, her memory will live on forever. The Lorena community said they will keep her close to their hearts.
“Prayers for her parents, her sister, her brother,” said Hobbie, “her whole family.”
School administrators said they will have grief counselors available in the days and weeks ahead.