Boy, 19, forced to look after 5 siblings after mother dies of COVID-19
A teenage boy has become the guardian of his younger siblings after their mother died from COVID-19.
- JuanJose Martinez, 19, is now taking care of his family after their mom passed away from coronavirus at only 43.
- While his youngest brother, 2, is with his father, Juan is looking after his four other siblings on his own.
- After losing his mother to COVID-19, the young man is now urging people to take the virus seriously.
JuanJose Martinez, 19, from Palmdale near Los Angeles, is now taking care of his brothers and sisters after their mother lost the fight with coronavirus. As Daily Mail reports, Juan’s mother, Brenda Martinez, died at only 43, after a severe COVID-19 battle.
In August, when the entire family tested positive for the life-threatening virus, everyone was asymptomatic except Juan and his mother. While the 19-year-old experienced many of the common COVID-19 symptoms, including cough, fever, and chills, Brenda’s condition was significantly more critical.
Only days into their isolation, the mother-of-five began to experience trouble breathing and was taken to Palmdale Regional Medical Center. Terrifyingly, she became unresponsive and had to be placed onto a ventilator. Her body could not take the severe struggle, and she passed away in only a week.
Being the oldest one in the family, the teenager is now forced to look after his five siblings on his own.
In an interview with Fox LA, Juan said:
“I feel like she’s [Lopez] at peace and she put up a fight, honestly. I was just a big brother and then after my mother passed, I became a father, mother and a big brother at the same time.”
The young man has courageously taken the role of a guardian to his brothers and sisters, aged between 2 and 15. While the youngest one is presently living with his father, Juan is looking after the rest of them all by himself. Explaining their sorrowful situation, the teenager told NBC News that he is trying his best to comfort his siblings. As for his loving mother, who was also diabetic, he said:
“She was just always careful. She would usually stay home and took extra precautions. She would always wear a mask when she stepped out. She would always sanitize.”
With their father out of the picture, and bills piling up, Juan decided to seek help from strangers.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise enough money to cover basic expenses. Thankfully, kind-hearted donators have already helped raise nearly $93,000. In the fundraiser’s description, Juan wrote a touching message:
“I promised her that I will keep my siblings together and take care of them.”
A separate GoFundMe account has also been set up for the two-year-old sibling who is now living with his father.
JuanJose’s selfless deed was not left unnoticed by his grateful family. One of his sisters, 15-year-old Jovanna, said:
“I love how supportive he is and is just doing the best that he can for all of us at the moment. I just love the fact that I can turn around and I can talk to him, just like I would with my mom. It’s been really hard. It’s different from a woman and a guy to talk to without having my mom to talk to, but at the end of the day, at least I still have an older brother to look up to.”
The teen, who has already gone through the struggles of COVID-19, is now urging others to take the virus seriously.
Juan shares that what most upsets him about the way people perceive the pandemic is that they don’t take the situation seriously. Sharing his concerns, he said:
“I just hope people take their precautions. It’s no joke.”