LANSING, Kan. — A couple in Lansing, Kansas, is asking for the public’s help after losing a member of their family to COVID-19. Sixty-year-old Tammy Henson quickly became ill during a family beach vacation to Florida.
“Tell your loved ones you love them as much as you can, 'cause this happened so fast that it’s awful," said Henson's daughter-in-law, Jenni Sanderson.
She died less than a month after her first symptoms of COVID-19. Henson was taken off the ventilator at a hospital in Florida after arriving there just weeks before for a family vacation.
“The doctors were telling us, ‘She’s not gonna make it, you guys need to decide when you want to take her off the ventilator.’ Him and his sisters decided to go ahead and take [her] off,” Sanderson. “And it wasn’t 10 minutes later that she passed.
The family recalls Henson coughing constantly throughout the trip, but it was not unusual for Henson to battle an occasional case of bronchitis. But when she came back positive for the COVID-19 virus and pneumonia, the entire family got tested.
“We all lost our smell and our taste. It basically just felt like a bad sinus cold,” Sanderson said. “Low-grade fevers, maybe, for a couple of days. Definitely felt like semi trucks had run us over as far as fatigue and muscle aches and body aches.”
The couple said Henson was high-risk. She lived with high blood pressure and was overweight.
It was their personal choice to not take the vaccine, but Sanderson said following her mother-in-law’s passing, she and her eligible daughter will get vaccinated once they leave quarantine.
“She is going to miss the girls, but she was a strong Christian woman,” said Henson's son, Jason Sanderson. “She knew where she was going, and her last words to me before I called the ambulance in the hotel was, kinda funny. She was sick, but she jokes about this a lot — ‘Dig me a grave and put me in it.’”
He said he remembers his mom as selfless and a stranger to none. The family is now asking the public to help bring her home.
“It's gonna cost about, in between $15,000 and $18,000 for us to get her flown back here, do the funeral service, get her buried. And you know, all of us work and have enough money to support our families and stuff, but that need goes outside of what him and his sisters and we can do,” Jenni Sanderson said. “We’re just greatly appreciative of everything that everybody can do to help.”
To help with funeral costs, they've set up a GoFundMe page.