Wilmington, North Carolina (WECT)-Many unvaccinated people hope that the opportunity will be good for them, and if they do get COVID-19, they won’t get sick. This is the case with Tyler Gilreath, a 20-year-old UNCW student who is now brain dead due to complications after contracting the virus in mid-August. After the doctor took his organs, his family plans to stop him from life support on Monday night.
“I coaxed, encouraged, threatened and nagged him to get vaccinated,” Taylor’s mother Tamra De Mello told WECT. “I did everything I could think of. I think he did some research, and he thought it would hurt his heart or something for a long time… I’m not even sure where he got his information from, it’s very It’s frustrating. Sometimes I feel like I push harder and harder—he basically says to me,’Mom, leave me alone. I can take care of myself.’”
Taylor became very ill after contracting COVID-19 two days after moving from Cary to Wilmington to attend UNCW. De Mello said that Taylor’s COVID infection evolved into a sinus infection and a staphylococcal infection, and later infected his brain.
Last week, his brain abscess ruptured and his roommate took him to the hospital. Taylor regained consciousness briefly, but continued to lose brain function. On Friday, a CAT scan showed that his brain had no blood flow and the damage was irreversible.
“This is a devastating blow. It will only leave a hole in our hearts that can never be filled forever,” De Mello told WECT in tears on Monday. “If these children not only realize how this will affect them, but also realize how devastating it is for everyone around them. I just beg them to take pictures of them.”
De Mello said she spent the summer with her son and encouraged him to get vaccinated. As a 60th birthday gift to his mother, Taylor agreed to be vaccinated after he arrived in Wilmington to start his junior year. By then, it was too late.
“After living with his new roommates for two days, he contracted the new crown virus from them. He was very sick and was sick for three weeks. He overcame the new crown pneumonia, but made him suffer from a terrible sinus infection. I don’t know. Why penetrated his brain,” De Mello explained. “So he can’t even go to school on campus. So, other than what he can do online, he never even started, when your body temperature reaches 102 degrees and you are vomiting and are accompanied by other things brought by COVID It’s very difficult when things are unpleasant.”
Before getting sick, De Mello said Taylor was healthy and full of energy, without any pre-existing health problems. He is studying computer science and enjoys wake-up skateboarding, water skiing and skiing. Before the COVID suspension, he was a cadet at Virginia Tech in his freshman year. He decided to return to North Carolina and transfer to UNCW.
When asked what advice she has for other parents trying to persuade their children to get vaccinated, she said she did everything she could.
“Legal speaking, they are adults. You really can’t let them go. But I will use any guilt strategy I might come up with. I will try to take them to see if they will go. My kids are better than me. It’s much bigger, so it’s hard to do. I’d say that as long as this message is sent out, if it can even save a person in a fence, or if parents can use it to say,’Look how broken this whole family is. This may not happen to you, but if there is any very small possibility-it is a shot,” De Mello said.
“I learned from the parents of the child who lost the child [kids] This is a club you never want to join. It really won’t get much easier,” De Mello said of the impact of losing a child. She said Taylor’s father, stepmother, and three siblings were all shocked by this meaningless loss.
Knowing that Taylor is an organ donor, his organs and tissues will help up to 80 people, De Mello got some comfort.
“He will live in my heart and live through those recipients. I know he is with God, but the holes he left in my life will never disappear. I love you, son. Rest in peace,” De Mello wrote on Facebook, commemorating the death of her son.
The family is trying to plan a private family funeral and then celebrate Taylor’s life in their church in the next few weeks.
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