SUFFOLK, Va. – A Suffolk family has started a support group to help other families who have lost a child to COVID-19.
Nicole and Jeff Sperry have created Our Missing Stars to recognize all the other children who have died from the illness. Their only daughter, Teresa, died in September from COVID-19 complications. She was 10 years old.
Teresa died about one month before the COVID vaccine came out for her age group. The Sperrys said their daughter was healthy and are now urging other parents to honor their daughter by getting vaccinated.
Teresa’s parents have now made it their mission to connect with other families across the country who’ve also lost a child to the devastating disease.
“She’s our missing star,” said Nicole Sperry, Teresa’s mother. “All these other families that have lost their children, they’re missing their stars just as much as we are.”
Their support group Our Missing Stars honors their little girl while shining a light on the importance of getting vaccinated.
“It’s taking whoever it wants, whenever it wants,” Nicole Sperry said. “We just want everybody to be safe. We don’t anybody else to go through what we’ve been going through.”
With the help of Glaser Progress Foundation, the Sperrys made a PSA in the hopes Teresa’s death can save lives.
The PSA is posted to the Our Missing Stars Facebook page. In the video, Teresa’s parents talk about their memories of their daughter while encouraging others to get the vaccine.
“Teresa was my princess,” Teresa’s father Jeff Sperry said. “Teresa was strong. She was healthy. She was happy. COVID took her within five days. I don’t want other people feeling this.”
Nicole Sperry added, “Teresa loved roller skating. She loved dancing, singing, drawing, playing in the rain.”
As the Sperry family celebrates their first Christmas without Teresa, which is her favorite holiday, they’re doing what they can to keep her memory alive - from watching sunsets to wearing a Mikey Mouse sweatshirt she gave her mother as a gift last Christmas.
“There’s just memories everywhere and I love them, but it definitely hurts,” Nicole Sperry said.
Jeff Sperry said, “It was one of her favorite things to do is watch the sunset.”
Through their efforts, they say they’re helping to protect the rest of their children and others, so nobody else loses their missing star.
“It doesn’t go away; I still think about her every day,” Jeff Sperry said. “I still think about her every day and I don’t want this for anybody else. This is terrible.”
The Sperrys are working on starting a nonprofit to continue to honor Teresa and spread awareness about COVID and the shot.