PHOENIX - A Phoenix man lost his fiancée to COVID-19 complications on Christmas Day after a hard-fought battle with the virus that lasted more than three months - and he does not want her to be just another statistic for COVID-19 deaths.
Despite this tragedy, a healthy baby boy was born who will never know his mother.
Maurice Turner is still trying to process the grief.
"I just want to let people know to take it serious," Turner said.
On Christmas morning, he lost his fiancée, 30-year-old Lareesia Wright. Turner says they both caught COVID-19 in late August, despite taking the pandemic seriously.
"We just wore our masks all the time, and we really didn't go anywhere," Turner said.
Wright was a mother of two and pregnant with a boy approaching the due date. Coronavirus caused her to have breathing issues, and she went to the hospital, Turner said.
Her son, Maurice III, was born premature. Wright would begin ECMO treatment at Banner University in September and fight for her life for the next three months.
"She did everything she could to try to come home, but it's hard, man," said Turner.
He was never able to hear his fiancée's voice since then, raising the three children they shared together on his own.
He admits they hesitated to get vaccinated during the pregnancy, and now Turner has received his shot.
"I hate that she had to go through this for it to really open up my eyes, but I knew what I had to do," he said.
According to the CDC, there are nearly 40,000 women with COVID-19 who completed their pregnancy. Almost 20,000 were infected during the third trimester, like Wright.
Turner wishes she was still here, but will remind their baby boy how much she loved him.
"I would honestly trade my life for her," he said.
Visit the family's GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-weedie-b-wright-family-expenses-fund
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