NEW CANAAN, Conn. — The community of New Canaan is rallying to help a local family after a 10-year-old died of complications from the flu.
Nico Mallozzi, a 10-year-old fourth-grader at West Elementary School, died unexpectedly Sunday after falling ill during a trip to Buffalo, N.Y., for a hockey tournament. The cause of death was sepsis as a complication of Influenza B and pneumonia.
"The Mallozzi family has just encountered a loss that no family should ever have to endure. Please join us in helping support the family as they cope with their unimaginable grief," said a GoFundMe page launched by Kirsten Morin.
As of late Tuesday, the GoFundMe had already exceeded its goal, raising $109,255 of a $100,000 goal.
Many of the donations came from fellow members of the Norwalk-based Connecticut Roughriders as well as other youth hockey players, families and teams.
"One of Nico's coaches described him best: Nico's sly little smile and charm have captivated, entertained and kept us on our toes," the GoFundMe page said. "Our rink won't be the same without him. Nico was an amazing player, teammate. and friend .... not to mention, a bit of jokester with a trademark smile."
"Our hockey family is ready to rally around the Mallozzi family," the GoFundMe page said, using the label #NicoStrong. "Each and every teammate will miss you dearly! Not to mention the parents that were often drafted to help lace up your skates over the years ... we all wish we could help him lace them up one more time!"
In an update, the Mallozzi family told organizers they have "no words to express their gratitude for the outpouring of kind words and remarkable support that the family has received. They only wish that Nico was here to read every single comment and see the many lives that he touched."
Many who made contributions offered condolences to the Mallozzi family.
"My sincerest condolences for your tragic loss. As a fellow parent of a young hockey player, this hits very close to home," said one donor. "I know it's not much but felt I had to get involved if for no other reason than to express my support during this unimaginably difficult time. Sending positive thoughts."
Another person said, "We all hold the Mallozzi family in our hearts and thoughts. Peace and love, little Nico."
Nico Mallozzi began to feel ill last Thursday, Jan. 11, and traveled to Buffalo, to be with his hockey team over the weekend, New Canaan Director of Health Dr. David Reed told New Canaan News Online on Tuesday.
Nico, who did not feel well and did not play in the hockey tournament, was taken to the emergency room at Buffalo Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with Influenza B, New Canaan News Online said.
The family decided to return home Sunday, but Nico's condition worsened and he was taken to a New York hospital where he died, New Canaan News Online said. His brother was also hospitalized with the flu.
The Connecticut Roughriders posted a statement on its website:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mallozzi family right now. It is a very sad day for all of us, Nico was a great kid with a great smile and he will be missed greatly. We will never forget you, Nico.”
New Canaan Superintendent of Schools Bryan Luizzi said the school district has taken the precaution of having the custodians perform extra “cleanings” at all school buildings.
"It is important for everyone to take appropriate precautions, including receiving the influenza vaccination," Luizzi said.
Parents are asked to keep children home who do not feel well, he said.
Over 1,000 cases of the flu with at least 15 flu-related deaths have been reported in Connecticut so far this flu season.
Symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.
Click here for the story at New Canaan News Online.
Click here for the GoFundMe page.
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