Whitewright student loses battle with flu - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Whitewright student loses battle with flu

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Whitewright High School sophomore Larry Donaldson died on New Year's Day. (KTEN) Whitewright High School sophomore Larry Donaldson died on New Year's Day. (KTEN)

WHITEWRIGHT, Texas -- Whitewright High School sophomore Larry Donaldson has lost his battle with the flu, just eight days from what would have been his 16th birthday.

His family said Larry died of complications of the illness on New Year's Day. Health officials say the flu is "widespread" across Texas, although no fatalities had been reported as of the most recent report with statistics through December 23.

Whitewright High canceled school on Friday to give students the opportunity to attend a funeral service for their classmate.

"A lot of the kids were meeting every morning at 7:30 to have a prayer vigil time, and we kept that up all the way until Christmas break," said teacher Molly Johnson, who had Larry in her world geography class. "I think for me, I always had hope he was going to get better and come back."

Johnson said Larry pushed her every day to become better at her job.

"He's like a teacher's dream; that's one of the things I think you'll hear from just about everybody," she said.

Larry was diagnosed with influenza in October. His condition deteriorated and he was placed on life support in November.

Larry was a member of the Beta Honor Society and was his 8th grade class salutatorian. He also was a member of the Future Farmers of America and ran track, played baseball, basketball and was an offensive lineman for the Whitewright Tigers varsity football squad.

"You got little bitty Larry going up against guys twice his size, and he wouldn't back down," Principal Steve Morrow said. "He gets knocked down, he would be the first one to get back up."

There will be a public visitation Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at Waldo Funeral Home, 619 North Travis Street, in Sherman.

A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at King's Trail Cowboy Church, 498 Bethel Cannon Road, near Whitewright.

A friend established a GoFundMe page to help Larry Donaldson's family with medical expenses.

"He does more and better than you ever expect him to, because he just has that want-to, that grit, that you wish every kid had," Principal Morrow said.

"It's going to leave a big hole that's going to be hard to fill," Johnson added.

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