Teenage flu victim Melissa Whiteley's twin sister: 'This has broken me. I don't know what I'll do without her'
8 February 2018, 16:10
The family of a teenage girl who died after being struck down with flu on Christmas Day say they have been left "totally broken" by her death.
Melissa Whiteley, 18, from Stoke-On-Trent, died a month after becoming ill, suffering from sepsis, pneumonia and a rare infection which attacked her lungs.
Her twin sister, Megan, told the Stoke Sentinel: "This has broken me. I just don't know what I'll do without her.
"We did everything together and that's now been taken away from me. She was funny, we had a lot of banter. I couldn't have asked for a better sister."
The engineering student died on 27 January with her family by her side.
Her family are now warning anyone suffering from flu-like symptoms to seek medical help immediately.
An outbreak of flu, described by NHS England as the "worst flu season in years", has led to 215 deaths across the UK so far this winter.
The twins' father Mark, a 50-year-old HGV driver, said the family are also trying to raise awareness of the symptoms of sepsis - a rare complication of an infection that can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
A JustGiving page helping to raise money for Melissa's funeral has raised more than £3,000.
The page describes her as "a precious daughter, a loving twin sister, an amazing girlfriend and a friend forever to so many".
The tribute goes on: "She was a very brave and strong young lady, who fought for her life but sadly was taken from her family and friends far too soon, leaving her loving and caring family totally broken".