PHOENIX — Gone at only 46-years-old. A Valley mother leaves her six children behind, after losing her battle with COVID-19. And in an instant, Vanessa Perez, only 25, losing her mom and becoming the one who will now raise her siblings.
“I’m being strong for all my siblings," Perez said. "But I’m really grateful and I always tell them that I’m happy there’s so many of us. God bless because, we’re what’s helping each other move forward.”
Vanessa says her mom, Mayra Millan, was an essential worker at a local grocery store. She cared for her family until COVID-19 took her life earlier this month.
“They would tell us she was getting better and we would get our hopes up high," Perez said. "And then the next day the same lung that had collapsed, re-collapsed.”
The virus becoming too much for Mayra, Vanessa who also got sick with COVID, answering the hospital’s call on December 14th.
“Immediately what came to my mind was my siblings," she said. "I’ve always been like their second mom and I just didn’t want them to feel any pain.”
Caring for them through the grief, Vanessa says she plans to adopt her minor siblings.
“I am the oldest so I am going to be the sole provider because my other brother who just graduated is still looking for a job, so I really hope he finds one soon," Perez said.
The community also donating thousands to help this family get back on its feet, through this GoFundMe. Vanessa, now unexpectedly plunging into parenthood shares a warning for Arizonans.
“Be safe. Take it serious," she said. "Because one life changes the life of everyone. Which it’s going to do for us.”