‘We haven’t stopped crying’: Teen dies from rare COVID-19-related condition

CHARLOTTE — Just 15 years old, Alyssa Simons was set to be a sophomore at North Mecklenburg High School, with her whole life ahead of her.

“She loved to draw, she wanted to go to school for fashion design, that’s all she did was draw, draw, draw,” Shernett Reevey told Channel 9 about her daughter.

Reevey said the family came down with COVID-19 in March. Alyssa was asymptomatic, seemingly fine. But several weeks later, she started having stomach and back pains, and was losing weight.

“We tried to take her upstairs and she just collapsed and that’s when we called 911,” Reevey said.

Alyssa would go on to spend the next 10 days in the hospital. Reevey said she was diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

According to the CDC, it’s a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, and doctors don’t yet know what causes it. But they know many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.

Reevey said her daughter seemed to be getting better, so she was released from the hospital.

“She started complaining about the pains again so I made another appointment and I told her if she didn’t get better in the morning I’m going to take her to the hospital again,” Reevey said.

Alyssa never made it there.

“I woke up and checked on her and she was already gone,” Reevey said.

“What I want parents to know is that this is out there, COVID is not over, this is not being talked about,” Alyssa’s aunt Yolanda Johnson said. “Your child may have a mild stomachache or backache and you might just write that off as ‘Oh OK, it’s nothing big, you’ll be fine.’”

The sisters urge other families to pay attention to any and all symptoms and remember this pandemic is not over.

“We haven’t stopped crying since we lost her, but if our story will help save another child’s life then it makes all the difference in the world. Early detection, reconsider the vaccine, it’s available,” Johnson said.

“I just hope that her story can help another child,” Reevey said

According to the CDC, most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care, but it can be deadly. They’re still learning about it and how it affects children. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • Abdominal (gut) pain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Chest tightness/pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling extra tired
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

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