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Country music star to visit Lakeland girl who had near-death experience with flu

Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 07, 2017

Brandy Szanyi is just 15-years-old, and by all accounts a vibrant, healthy young girl. But right now she’s lying in a hospital bed at St. Joseph’s in Tampa and putting up the fight of her life.

“It was horrible. It was the worst feeling that you would ever imagine. It was horrible,” said Jennifer Szanyi, Brandy’s mother.

Szanyi came to the hospital last week with the flu, and it seemed like anything that could go wrong, did.

She coded twice, but doctors managed to bring her back. The virus attacked her heart and lungs.

“We try to just stay positive and she’s going to be able to talk to us gain,” said Cara Szanyi, while wiping away a tear.

The entire family is right by her side every step of the way.

It appears the Tenoroc High School student and softball star will lose her left leg due to complications from the illness.

“We had to choose between life and limb, and we chose life,” Jennifer said. “I have healthy children. I never would have expected in a million years this would take my kid down like it did.”

Anyone can get the flu and develop complications, but the risks and significantly higher for babies and the elderly.

Szanyi is obviously neither, and has no underlying conditions that would make it worse.

But this year she did not get the flu shot.

“I now, after seeing what this has done to a perfectly healthy 15-year-old, I would recommend the flu shot. People need to take the flu seriously. It’s a serious illness,” Jennifer said.

Her family believes if there’s one thing pushing her to beat this, it’s her love of music and country star Tracy Lawrence.

Every night, her nurses turn up his station on Pandora Radio.

Her sister wrote a touching open letter on Facebook, inviting the artist to stop by to lift her spirits when he’s in town next week for a show at the Dallas Bull in Tampa.

“I know the power of social media so i decided to type it up and give it a shot,” she said. “It would mean the world to her.”

The post has been shared nearly a thousand times.

Late Tuesday, the singer confirmed he plans to visit Brandy before his concert next Friday and invited the family to the show.

A generous gesture that may be enough to keep up the good fight.

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