SUFFOLK, Va. - A 10-year old girl died of complications from COVID-19 and now her parents are speaking out.
Nicole Sperry said her daughter Teresa died earlier this week after a battle with COVID-19. A spokesperson for CHKD confirmed Sperry's 10-year old died from COVID-19 in an email to News 3 after a five day battle.
Teresa was a 5th grader at Hillpoint Elementary School.
Her parents told News 3 she was everyone's best friend and someone who was very positive about life. "She was just the type of friend that you always to have - no matter what. No matter who you are," said her mother Nicole.
They said her sickness started with a headache, then a fever and then she was having trouble breathing and wound up testing positive for COVID-19.
At home Sunday night into Monday, Teresa appeared to stop breathing so her parents took her to a hospital in Suffolk. Then, she was transferred to CHKD where her heart stopped beating on Monday.
"I had to leave her there. No parent should have to go through that," said Nicole.
Teresa’s family says they never thought something like this could happen to her as she was healthy and just full of life.
"My daughter was a beautiful loving caring person who cared more for other people than herself she loved people. If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody and I don't want this to happen to anybody else," her father Jeff said.
Teresa leaves behind three brothers and her mother and father, who now has COVID-19 himself. Both of her parents were vaccinated.
"I never thought my perfectly healthy daughter would die from COVID," her mother Nicole said.
As this devastating loss was unexpected for the family, you can help them out by donating towards funeral expenses by clicking here.
A spokesman for the Virginia Department of Health says their information has not updated to include this case yet, but so far in Virginia there have been 11 pediatric deaths from COVID-19.
Although health experts say complications from COVID-19 in children is relatively rare, a 17 year old girl in Norfolk also died from COVID-19 complications in August.
While hospitalization rates for children 11 years old or younger are at the highest rate since the pandemic began, according to the CDC, health experts say severe complications from COVID-19 in children are relatively rare.
"First, I would reassure parents and say that the incidence of severe disease in children is extremely, extremely low," Dr. Danny Avula told WTVR-TV in Richmond.
"So while kids are seeing higher rates of COVID infection, it is very rare that they develop severe disease."
Dr. Avula encouraged parents to vaccinate their children who are eligible to get the vaccine.
"And then I think reminding our kids that COVID is still out there and that while most kids will do fine, there are a small percentage of kids who will develop more severe disease," he continued. "So continuing to encourage mask wearing certainly in schools where it's required but even when you go to a restaurant or the grocery store or some public setting, having our younger kids wear masks is a really important part of protecting them."