Hiawatha Child Falls Victim to Flu; Fundraiser Ongoing for Final Expenses

A Hiawatha child died of influenza just before Christmas and money is being raised to help with her final expenses.

Nine-year-old Leighya Marie DeLong was taken for hospital care on December 22 in Lincoln, Nebraska. She died the next day.

DeLong and her mother, Odessa Kirkendoll, had only recently moved to Kansas.

Her paternal grandmother is asking for funds via a GoFundMe account.

A post to the USD 415 website Friday by Hiawatha School Superintendent Lonnie Moser said DeLong began attending 4th grade at Hiawatha Elementary School in October.

The school district is working to establish support and resources for students and staff coping with the loss.

Along with her mother and grandparents, survivors of DeLong include her three siblings.

Brian Hagen of MSC News provided this story.