A teenage girl with Down syndrome was killed by coronavirus just a year after overcoming cancer. Alexa Rose Veit, 15, died of Covid on November 15 – just a day after her mother Kim was released from hospital after being put on a ventilator because of the same virus.
Alexa, from Ballard County in Kentucky, was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2019, but successfully overcame the condition, and went into remission weeks later. But at the end of October this year Alexa began to feel unwell at school, so her mother came to pick her up.
She was taken for what her mom hoped would be a routine Covid test ahead of an upcoming medical procedure. Kim Veit then began to feel unwell around the same time, and also took a test. Both mother and daughter received a positive result shortly afterwards.
Alexa’s mom fell seriously-ill first, and was put on a ventilator, with the teenager’s symptoms initially appearing to be mild. The youngster’s grandparents were also hospitalized with Covid while she was ill, according to Ballard County Emergency Management director Travis Holder.
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But Alexa grew increasingly ill with the virus as time passed. A Ballard County spokesman explained: ‘As the days went on, Alexa began to feel a little worse each day and was eventually hospitalized due to Covid-19 and the development of pneumonia.’
She was flown to Nashville, Tennessee, for specialist care from her regular doctors. Alexa’s older sister, who had successfully overcome Covid, remained by the teenager’s side as their mother continued her hospital treatment. But Alexa’s condition worsened further, to the point where she had to be put on a ventilator.
Tragically, the teenager died just as her mother was released from hospital. Kim Veit was able to make it to hospital in time to say goodbye, the late teenager’s dad William said. Holder paid tribute to Alexa as a ‘social butterfly with an infectious smile that could brighten any day.’
He added: ‘She was a freshman at Ballard Memorial High School, a member of the choir, an active member of her church youth group and (thoroughly) enjoyed time with her family and friends.’
Holder said Alexa’s death should remind others to take the pandemic seriously, wear masks, and observe social distancing guidelines.
Coronavirus has now infected close to 12.3 million Americans, and killed almost 257,000 across the US.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to pay for Alexa’s funeral. To find out more or donate click here
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