KANSAS CITY, Mo. — UPDATE, 4:15 p.m. | The family of Celia Yap-Banago reached out to 41 Action News to provide this letter in remembrance of her:
Early 1970, she left the only world and life she knew in the Philippines and headed to a new one, The United States. She is the youngest of 7 and comes from a very family oriented background. She first moved to Florida then KCMO. She has worked her entire life as a nurse. She and dad have been married 34 years. Our roots are deep in KC. She and dad raised two sons that both attended RHS. Each left for college, but found their way in engineering at UMKC. She has worked at 4N at Research Medical Center for years. She is loved by not just her coworkers, but many employees outside of the unit. When she tested positive for COVID-19, her one goal was to make sure no one else got it from her. Isolated for weeks, she slowly regained her strength. She went peacefully. We always thought of my mom as a hero, our hero. Putting on scrubs for 40 years and through a pandemic, now we know she is a hero. She wanted to go back to work and she was preparing to. We miss her, we adore her, we love her. The world lost a good one, but heaven gained one. Please hug your loved ones a little tighter when you can or see them again. Please say I love you an extra time as well. We want to thank everyone for the unexpected and immense support. Keep her in your thoughts or say a prayer for our (and your) angel.
Amado, Jhulan, Josh
EARLIER | A nurse from Research Medical Center died due to COVID-19, according to coworkers.
Celia Yap-Banago died earlier this week. Research Medical Center said in a statement that Yap-Banago had been quarantined since March 25 and tested positive for COVID-19.
"Since that time, she had been recovering at home while under the care of her personal physician," the statement said. "This is a deeply tragic situation and a reminder of the courage she — and her fellow nursing and frontline colleagues — exhibit every day during these unprecedented times."
Research Medical Center also said that Yap-Banago had a nearly 40-year nursing career at the hospital.
According to a press release from National Nurses United, she was set to retire next week.
It also stated that Yap-Banago was among a group of nurses who expressed concern with Research Medical Center's preparedness for the pandemic.
"Those concerns include insufficient supplies of the optimal personal protective equipment for RNs and other health care workers, delays in notifying nurses of being exposed to a suspected infected patients and staff and expected to continue reporting to work when exposed," the release said.
"Her impact on the nursing profession and those she worked with will be lasting as a result of the tireless mentorship, training, support and guidance she provided her colleagues," the statement read. "We offer our deepest sympathies to her family and friends, and all who she touched along the way."
Nurses from across the area plan to hold a candlelight vigil Thursday at HCA's Research Medical Center to honor Yap-Banago's service.
One of her coworkers, Charlene Carter, told 41 Action News that nurses will gather in small groups of 10 or less.
“Celia was an amazing nurse that dedicated her service for countless years at Research and a dear friend to all of us,” Carter said. “I feel that I can speak for many nurses when I say that the loss of one of our dear fallen soldiers on the front line of this pandemic is more than devastating, it is a wake-up call.”
The vigil is expected to start at 8 p.m.