For Keri, Our Special Angel

My beloved sister-in-law gained her angel wings on Friday, February 22, 2019, after a very sudden and tough fight against the flu/pneumonia. She developed many complications and ultimately her little body wasn’t able to fight off the infection. Keri was a very special person. She was born on February 3, 1983 in Katy, TX. She was born with Down Syndrome and at the time her parents were left speechless and sad, not yet realizing what a huge blessing Keri was going to be in their lives and countless other lives that she touched, whether it be family, friends or complete strangers. In reality, Keri never met a stranger. Everyone that met her instantly loved her. She had a way of lighting up a room with her smile. She never let DS slow her down. She loved singing and dancing and she wasn’t afraid of doing it in front of a crowd. She was so full of life and she brought so much love and laughter into our lives. Our sweet Keri will truly be missed and life will not be the same without her. Below is a message from her father, Charles Heal:

 
“Our beloved Down Syndrome daughter of 36 years battled a severe flu strain and pneumonia for the past week. After 4-5 days in intensive care, she lost her battle to fight this horrible infectious disease.

The first few days after she was born, she had surgery to correct an intestinal blockage. Shortly after that she had spinal meningitis and was in the hospital again. Since that time 36 years ago, she has never been back to a hospital for anything. She did have asthma and allergies, but has always been pretty healthy.

At 4’6”, she weighed as much as 205 lbs about a 1-1/2 ago. She was always very sad about her weight and we regret not doing more to help her with that. For the past 12-14 months she herself went on a crusade to get healthy. She would always fight us when we tried to get her to eat healthy and exercise, but the DayHab she attended five days a week, coached her in nutrition and exercise which eventually gave her the desire and determination to lose weight and get healthy. Over the course of the 12-14 months she went from 205 lbs down to 122 lbs, all on her own. We would take her to the grocery store and she would read labels and choose her own food. Keri became the food police and would constantly tell us that WE were not eating healthy. She would come home from her DayHab and tells us “I’m taking my own lunch, because they are having pizza day today”. She had such determination.

This past month the DayHab was planning a play “Grease” scheduled for a day in March. Keri was so excited that she was going to play “Sandy”. She bought an outfit resembling the one Sandy wore. She was memorizing her lines, “which memorizing anything was easy for her”. Now, unfortunately we won’t get to see that happen.

It never crossed our minds that we would lose Keri at this stage of her life.  We expected her to take care of us in our old age.  We were not prepared for this mentally or financially.”

 
Keri’s parents are extremely heartbroken, as many of us are. We have a long road ahead of us and the thought of going on through life without her is just daunting. We will take it baby step by baby step, day by day for now. We will cherish every single sweet memory we have of her forever. We are extremely appreciative of all the love, support and prayers from everyone near and far. If anyone would like to help our family cover Keri’s medical and funeral expenses, every little bit would be so appreciated. Any additional funds not needed will be donated to the DayHab that brought so much love and joy to her life every week.

God bless and love to all.

Sincerely,
Mirta Heal
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Organizer and beneficiary

Mirta Heal 
Organizer
Rowlett, TX
Charles Heal 
Beneficiary
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