Family tragedy as the flu claims the life of six-year-old Allison Eaglespeaker

Vincent Schilling

The tragedy is the first flu-related death of the 2018-2019 season - Family asks funeral expenses assistance

It was a horrible, tragic and sad day earlier this week when a six-year-old kindergartner Allison Eaglespeaker was confirmed as the state of Montana’s first influenza-related death of the 2018-2019 flu season.

As reported by several regional news outlets in Missoula, to include KPAX, The Missoulian and NBC Montana, as well as a GoFundMe site set up to help with family expenses, Allison Eaglespeaker died at the Community Medical Center from Influenza B and pneumonia.

The Missoulian posted a few comments that Crystal White Shield, Allison’s mother, wrote on Facebook.

“My sweet, intelligent, loving, caring baby … ’I’ll be brave.’ I’ll never forget when you said that. Your strength gives me strength.”

Allison Eaglespeaker was a kindergartner at Russell Elementary in Missoula. The family held a memorial service on Monday at the Open Door Baptist Church in Missoula. Allison’s final resting place will be at Starr School, Montana.

They have set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. As of Thursday, they have raised approximately $13,000 of their $15,000 goal.

On the GoFundMe page, Raelene White Shield, the sister of Crystal, and the aunt of Allison wrote the following:

I am raising monies for my sister Crystal Whiteshield, her daughter Allison Eaglespeaker lost her hard battle against Influenza B and Pneumonia. She passed away on Dec 01, 2018, while under the care of Community Medical Hospital in Missoula, MT. Allison was 6 years old and in Kindergarten at Russell Elementary in Missoula, MT. Funds will be used to help pay for the medical expenses, transportation for Allison from Missoula to Browning and final resting place in Star School MT. Also, expenses to cover any funeral and memorial services. We would like to thank everyone for their prayers and any help you may have already provided. Ah-ho.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

My heart breaks for Allison’s family & friends as this senseless tragedy leaves me speechless. All too often we forget how dangerous influenza & viruses are for people, esp. those under 10 years. I hope that the memory of Allison Eaglespeaker will continue on & help others to feel the same joy she had for life. I hope those who could contributed to the fund to help her family as this sad loss will undoubtedly effect her family with grief that can only compound the hardships life throws out & nobody ever plans on spending over $10000 to bury a six year old!!! I really wish I could find the words to convey what I mean exactly, but to sum it up; I’m sure they’d appreciate all that they are given to help out, even if it’s a kind word, thought or prayer.