A well-known Massachusetts mother of two who thought she had a simple cold is dead after a bout of the flu turned fatal last week.
Jenny Ching, 51, of Needham, went to a hospital when her symptoms grew worse, The Needham Times reported. Doctors there diagnosed the flu.
The flu quickly turned to pneumonia, and she developed a severe bacterial infection. Ching died Friday, two days after being admitted to the hospital, the Times said.
She leaves behind her husband, Matt Ching, and their two young sons.
Ching was a beloved hostess at a Needham Chinese restaurant, and the restaurant’s patrons were among the mourners at her memorial service Wednesday.
“Such an outpouring of support for the Jenny Ching family tonight,” Tom Keating posted to Facebook on Wednesday night. “The lines of people at the Eaton Funeral Home (were) literally around the corner.”
The owner of Ray’s New Garden, the Chinese restaurant where Ching worked for 28 years, also mourned her death on the establishment’s Facebook page.
“Jenny always had a smile on her face and was one of the kindest people to touch so many lives,” the post read. “Please keep Jenny and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
A GoFundMe page established to help her family with expenses described Ching as a beautiful woman with a huge heart.
“She would do anything for anyone,” the page read. “If she wasn’t greeting you with a big smile at the New Garden restaurant where she worked, she was stopping you on the street to find out how you’re doing. She was a wonderful mom, and will be truly missed by everyone who knew her.”
Ching’s obituary read that she would be remembered for her smile, her kindness and her devotion to her family.
“Most importantly, Jenny will be remembered for her boundless love for her two sons, David and Dennis, of whom she was so proud,” the obituary read.
Her family asked that, instead of flowers, mourners contribute to an education fund for Ching’s sons.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the current flu season is a dangerous one, spreading quickly across the country. Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan told ABC News on Wednesday that the season, which began earlier than usual this year, is reaching near-epidemic levels.
Part of the problem is that this year’s most prevalent flu strain is H3N2, or Influenza A. That strain is particularly severe and harder to contain than other strains of the virus.
“Whenever (H3N2) shows up, it causes lots of disease, lots of hospitalizations, lots of cases and lots of deaths,” Jernigan told ABC News.
This year’s flu strain has been particularly hard on younger patients.
Kyler Baughman, 21, of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, died Dec. 28 of complications of the flu. The bodybuilder succumbed to organ failure brought on by flu-related septic shock, his family said.
In Ohio, Jonah Rieben, 4, died Saturday of complications of the flu. An 18-month-old boy from the Toledo area also died of the flu Monday.