A 15-year-old Kentucky girl with special needs who beat Leukemia last year has died after a battle with the coronavirus, local officials said.
Alexa Rose Veit died Sunday, about three weeks after she was diagnosed with COVID-19, according to a statement from Ballard County Emergency Management Director Travis Holder.
Described as a “social butterfly” with a bright smile, Alexa, who was born with Down syndrome, was diagnosed with cancer in July 2019. By August of that year, she was considered to be in remission from the brutal disease.
But on Oct. 26, the high school freshman wasn’t feeling well, so her mother pulled her out of school and took her to get a coronavirus test. Both she and her mother tested positive.
The girl’s mom was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator shortly after, the officials said. At the time, Alexa’s grandparents were also in the hospital with COVID-19.
Though Alexa only had mild symptoms at first, her condition quickly deteriorated and she was hospitalized with the virus and pneumonia. She eventually had to be placed on a ventilator.
Her mother was released from the hospital on Nov. 14 and rushed to her daughter’s bedside. Alexa died the next day.
In a statement on Facebook, the Ballard Memorial High School, where the teenager was a student, wrote that “Our world is a little less bright today without Alexa in it, and she will be missed always.”
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear addressed the girl’s tragic death during a news conference on Thursday, calling her “a beautiful child of God,” the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
“This is a big loss for that community, and to her family, we are so sorry that it happened,” Beshear said. “Our commitment is to do better. So today and every day, I wear my mask for Alexa and I hope you will, too.”
County officials also implored residents to take the virus seriously and to heed safety measures.
“Alexa was 15 years old, granted she did have pre-existing health conditions, but she was 15 years old,” Holder said in the statement. “We have got to come to the realization that this is real.”
“We must start taking the precautions seriously,” he continued. “There is not anything that we can do to get rid of COVID-19, but it is our duty as Citizens to do everything that we can to reduce the spread to our fellow man.”