Brittany Dillard Of White House Dies Unexpectedly Christmas Eve
She Was Just 13 Years Old
WHITE HOUSE TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – A White House Family is in shock after their daughter died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve from a bleeding disorder that she had been diagnosed with just a week earlier.
Brittany Danette Dillard age 13, of White House died Wednesday, December 24,
2014 at Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital. Brittany had recently been diagnosed with ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) which is a bleeding disorder.
She didn’t know what was going to happen but even while enduring scary and traumatic moments, she posted, “Thank you to everyone who is praying for me!!” She had brain swelling, the ITP was playing havoc with her body, and she under went an emergency procedure to try to help with the swelling, according to family friends.
It was an emotionally distraught time for everyone, Brittany was ever hopeful that things would look up, always looking on the brighter side of things. However, on Christmas Eve 2014 Brittany died from complications from the disorder.
Brittany was born on April 5, 2001 in Nashville to Charles Jason and Shannon Danette Massey Dillard. She was an 8th grader at White House Heritage and was a member of the Soccer Team and Beta Club. She also was an avid hiker and loved fishing.
She is remembered by the family as having beautiful green eyes, gorgeous freckles, and a smile that warmed your heart. At only 13 years of age, she had a graceful way of moving. If you ever saw her on the soccer field, you would see what a wonderful player and teammeate she was. She loved soccer, her teammates, her friends, and mostly her family.
She is survived by her parents, Jason and Shannon Dillard of White House and her brother, Blake Dillard of White House as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Smokey talked with Brittany’s father Jason Dillard Friday afternoon. The family is understandably beside themselves with grief but yet wanted to thank the community for their prayers and support.”
As we chatted, Jason did his best to talk through his grief, “I hope no one ever has to go through losing a child, it’s not natural, it’s not something you should have to go through”. Jason said that Brittany was an excellent soccer player and it bothered Brittany that the soccer field didn’t have a scoreboard, “Any funds left over from any of the fundraisers that have been set up, we’re going to donate it to give them a scoreboard, we’re going to make sure there’s a scoreboard on that soccer field.”
7th grade English Teacher and Brittany’s soccer Coach, Rett Roach, chatted with Smokey Friday evening. “Brittany went over and above our expectations this year in soccer, we had a very good team and she started some of the games,” Roach said.
“She was a fighter, we were always kind of worried, we had to be careful because she didn’t know how small she was.” Middle school and high school students are combined at White House Heritage giving some younger players the option to play with the older students. “She hung in there and never ever complained, she was just so happy to be given the opportunity to be out there with the high school girls,” Roach said.
Q: Was there any indication or sign that she had any health issues? “None, no indication, no indication until about a week ago. She got a cold and then developed these spots, they took her to the doctor and that’s when she was diagnosed with the ITP.”
“We thought she’ would just take a couple of months off and she’d be back but her condition took a turn for the worse. It’s pretty rare but even more rare for it to get to that point.”
Q: How are her team mates dealing to the news? ” The girls are hurting, it was like losing a family member. Brittany was infectious, and so was her smile, I know it’s easy to glorify a kid once they’re gone, but I couldn’t say enough good words about her. Brittany was so kind and so sweet, so witty and smart, and like I said a great soccer player, she had the full package.”
Q: How has it affected you? “You take a job as a coach and you think about tactics and how to win games, you don’t ever expect to say goodbye to one of your players. It’s been an eye opening experience, we’ve all been super hurt but glad knowing she’s in a better place now.”
Q: What are the students doing with their grief? “Luckily Heritage is a great school community, we’ve all kind of come together through this. I know some of her friends are making little bracelets and giving them out for donations, we’re all going to wear them and the team is going to make t-shirts.”
“As a team we’re looking to play for Brittany next year, Our motto this year was “Ohana” which means “family”. We’re going to come together as a family through this, that’s what Brittany would want from us. So next year our season will be dedicated to her, we look forward to her parents coming out there and seeing the way we play for her next year. Brittany was a great kid and she’s going to be missed sorely,” Roach said.
“We’re here for the Dillard family, continuing to try and support them, pray for them, and be there for Brittany’s brother Blake too, he’s also a student here,” said Mary-Jo Holmes, Principal White House Heritage. “When school starts back on Tuesday the 6th we’re going to have bereavement counselors available for the students to help get them through this difficult time, ”
Principal Mary-Jo has visited the Dillard family at the hospital several times since the ordeal began last week offering support and providing updates to the tight knit school community. “White House, being a smaller community, the students have all grown up together, many of the parents were born and raised here and as the principal I try to promote that family atmosphere, Mary-Jo said”
The loss has really touched home for Mary-Jo, she has daughters at the school herself. “My older daughter played soccer with Brittany this year, and my 7th grader just returned from a Jr. BETA convention with Brittany a few weeks ago.”
Mary-Jo told us that the Dillard family is dedicated to getting a scoreboard set up at the school in Brittany’s name. There will be an account set up at F&M Bank under the name Brittany Dillard. The holidays were delaying the account set up but by Monday anyone interested in donating to the scoreboard fund should be able to do so at any F&M Bank.
If you would like to donate to the school itself for the new scoreboard, you can write out a check payable to-> “White House Heritage” with Brittany Dillard’s name written at lower left.
A Go-Fund-Me page was set up and quickly reached it’s goal to cover funeral expenses for Brittany and the family wishes to thank everyone that donated for their generosity.
Smokey has confirmed that a Go Fund Me Page set up by friends of the family to help cover medical expenses is legitimate.
Visitation with the family will be held in the Chapel of Austin & Bell Funeral Home in White House on Friday from 3:00pm – 8:00pm and Saturday 2:00pm – 4:00pm & 6:00pm – 8:00pm. There will be a private family service at a later date.
Smokey would like to express our deepest sympathy to the Dillard family and to anyone touched by the sudden and tragic loss of Brittany Dillard.
Brittany’s story from our News Partner, WKRN News 2
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