BALLARD COUNTY, Ky. — As a Kentucky community mourns the loss of a 15-year-old "social butterfly" who died of COVID-19 a year after going into remission for Leukemia, one local official is making sure to carry on her story as a "fighter."
That fighter would be Alexa Rose Viet.
Ballard County Emergency Management Director Travis Holder says Viet was born with special needs in 2005, but that it didn't slow her down one bit. She was a girl with zero filter and an infectious smile, he added.
Fourteen years later she was faced with her hardest challenge to date: Leukemia. But through the treatment, she never lost her determination or infectious personality. She held strong.
"Alexa fought a hard and enduring fight, and against some odds that were thrown at her, achieved victory," Holder wrote, sharing Viet was considered in remission on Aug. 27, 2019.
More than a year later, On Oct. 26, Viet was at school and was not feeling well, so her mother took her for a COVID-19 test. While they were waiting on results, her mother began to feel ill as well and was tested herself, according to a county Facebook post.
Both results came back positive and both Viet and her mother were hospitalized, according to Holder. Ballard County emergency officials say Viet was flown to Nashville to be in the care of her regular doctors while her mom stayed in Kentucky on a ventilator.
"Alexa's health continued to decline and was eventually placed on a ventilator to help her breathe. It was then determined that the doctors had done all that they could do for Alexa," Holder wrote.
On Nov. 15, a day after her mother was released from hospital care, the teen died.
As for why Holder is sharing her story? So, people can see that sacrifices are being made and that the virus is very real.
"Alexa was 15 years old, granted she did have pre-existing health conditions, but she was 15 years old. I am telling you this because we have got to come to the realization that this is real. This isn’t political, it's not something that 'has always been here' it is real," Holder wrote.
He also pleaded with residents to think about their family and neighbors and encouraged them to wear a mask.
"If we all come together today, our tomorrow will be stronger than ever!"
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