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NZ’s Polly Gillespie opens up about young sister’s tragic death

New Zealand radio host Polly Gillespie has opened up about the tragedy that changed her life forever, in the hope that more people will say yes to the flu shot.
Polly Gillespie

Polly Gillespie

Back in October 2000, Polly was on air when she got the news that her older sister, Jeanette, had been rushed to hospital.

“I knew immediately and definitely that she was going to die,” writes Polly in her column for the NZ Herald.

Sadly her premonition turned out to be true, with 38-year-old Jeanette passing away from flu in Waikato hospital, just four days after falling ill.

Describing the traumatic experience of her sister’s last moments, Poppy writes: “It was a horrible death. I’ll never forget sitting with her all through the night. She was in an induced coma. Blood seeped from her eyes, nose and ears. Her hands and feet turned black.

“The wonderful staff at the hospital hooked her up to a machine that removed her blood, cleaned it, and pumped it back through her body. The noise of that machine will live in my head forever.”

Polly with her mum in a snap from her Instagram page

No one could comprehend why her sister, who was fit and healthy, could have been struck down with the flu so badly.

According to Polly, her body was “battling the infection so hard that it killed itself in the struggle.”

“Get the flu shot” Polly urges her readers. “Influenza kills young, amazing, gifted, beautiful, incredible people. It’s quick, and it’s brutal, and extraordinarily messy. Please get vaccinated.”

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