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Tampa doctors to amputate aspiring model's legs as she fights to survive COVID complications

Two different GoFundMe pages were created to help with medical and living expenses for the 20-year-old.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — People from all over are coming together to help raise money for a local St. Petersburg resident who has been fighting for her life for close to two weeks.

Claire Bridges was just like any other 20-year-old, but with a slight twist — she was born with a serious heart condition. Claire's dad, Wayne Bridges, explained she was fine and had regular checkups. 

Two weeks ago Claire was quickly put in the ICU on life support. Claire tested positive for COVID-19. Her dad said Claire's health went downhill fast when her heart and other organs were impacted. "She has been through so much with this. The last two weeks have felt like two months," Wayne stated.

But when did this all start? Claire was admitted to Tampa General Hospital on Jan. 16 with severe leg pain and COVID-19.

While at the hospital, Claire was diagnosed with COVID myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanotic and acidosis.

Only a few hours after she was admitted, Wayne received a call from the ICU doctor saying CPR was being administrated because his daughter's heart stopped. 

Over the span of an hour and a half, Claire coded two more times but was revived by the hospital staff.

Doctors and surgeons worked together to come up with the next course of action for Claire's heart and other organs.

The next morning, she was placed on a Tandem Heart and additional life support. And only a few hours later, she was placed on continuous dialysis because of her failing kidneys.

While all of this was going on, pressure was building in her legs and not allowing blood flow. Ultimately, it was decided the damage to her legs was too severe and irreversible — they need to be amputated. Claire will undergo surgery to have both legs amputated on Friday. 

"She is still on some life support. She’s facing a very major surgery that’s going to change her life," Wayne added.

"When the moment came to let her know about losing her legs the doctor handled it beautifully but held nothing back," Wayne wrote on Facebook. "Claire whispered 'I want Bionic legs' and smiled. 

"The doctor later asked if she had any questions and she said, 'Thank you for saving my life.'"

Claire has a dream to pursue a career in modeling. Her dad is hopeful she will be able to continue her fight and do what she loves. "We just know it’s a long road of recovery with the surgery she’s having, so we just hope that everyone holds her up with prayer," Wayne added.

Two different GoFundMe pages were created to help with medical and living expenses. So far, more than $43,000 has been raised between the two fundraising pages.

"Claire...faces a long and challenging recovery, and our hope is to give her the best resources possible for her ongoing healthcare needs," the family wrote on GoFundMe.

On social media platforms, Claire's family is using the hashtag #ClaireStrong, hopeful she will win this fight for her life. 

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