Family Begs People to Wear Masks, Spread Kindness After 12-Year-Old Dies of COVID-19

Still, COVID-19 found its way into their home.

In early September, Brad began coughing and thought it was his annual bought with bronchitis. His doctor agreed, but still urged him to get tested for COVID. Around that same time, Elizabeth began feeling congested, like she would with seasonal allergies.

In the days that followed, Brad learned he had tested positive for COVID-19. At that time, Elizabeth’s health was beginning to worsen.

“Even though my husband tested positive, his symptoms were very mild to moderate,” McNew explained. “It became very clear that Elizabeth was not just having allergies … She came and said, ‘I can’t breathe exactly good.’”

McNew took her daughter to Wolfson Children’s Hospital and was able to stay at Elizabeth’s side throughout because she never tested positive and never had a fever.

“I never left for 10 days,” she said.

Elizabeth had a tracheostomy and was on medications to manage her symptoms and pain. She could answer questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ and McNew spent her remaining time with her daughter telling her about all the support and prayers she had from family and friends.

On September 25, Elizabeth died. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, she is one of 109 children from Florida who have died from COVID-19 so far this year.

“Each one of the doctors or nurses … said, ‘I’m so sorry that I couldn’t do a better job,’ or ‘I couldn’t save her,’” McNew recalled. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I saw you in there. You were doing everything.’ I was just absolutely stunned at the humbleness and veracity they had. They wanted to save her.”

Elizabeth’s short life was celebrated at a memorial over the weekend where people shared memories of the red-headed girl who was a friend to everyone. McNew says her family was comforted by stories of Elizabeth’s kindness, generosity, and compassion.

As they grieve a daughter, sister, and friend, gone far too soon, McNew says she hopes their loss will serve as a reminder to others to simply be kind and care for one another.

“We all need to think about each other,” she said. “Masks are uncomfortable and they’re annoying, and here in Florida, they fog up your glasses. I know it is hard. But it’s harder to plan a funeral. It’s harder to watch your daughter struggle for breath for 10 days.”

Our hearts are with the McNew family during this time.

Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook.

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