UNC-Wilmington student declared brain dead weeks after testing positive for coronavirus’ :: WRAL.com
Wilmington, N.C. — Tyler Gilreath had just moved into his new dorm room at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and was about to start his junior year of college.
Three days after moving in, his mother, Tamra Demello, said Gilreath called her saying he tested positive for coronavirus.
Demello said her son wasn’t vaccinated and wasn’t planning on getting the shot when he was diagnosed with the virus.
“He said, ‘Oh, Mom, if I get sick, for young people, it’s no big deal. You have it a couple days, and you get over it.’ That’s not necessarily true,” said Demello.
Gilreath went on to spend three weeks in an area hospital with a severe sinus infection from COVID-19, which then spread to his brain.
As the days went on, the swelling got worse.
“I’m so angry with him. I even told him when he was lying in the hospital, when he gets better, I’m going to kick his butt,” said Demello.
On Friday, Demello said the family was told there wasn’t anything doctors could do and that Gilreath was brain dead.
“He is still hooked up to life support,” Demello said Monday. “Tonight, we will be going down to Wilmington to harvest his organs.”
Demello said she hopes telling Gilreath’s story will prevent other families from going through the same thing.
“If they don’t do it for themselves, do it for their family and loved ones. If you do get sick with a vaccine, you won’t be sick very long,” she said.
Demello said she “cajoled, encouraged, threatened and nagged” for Gilreath to get vaccinated before the start of the school year.
“He was too busy and/or concerned about the possible long-term heart issues, but finally agreed to get it as soon as he moved at school. He didn’t get the chance. I am devastated beyond belief,” said Demello.
“I know he’s looking down now and saying, ‘I guess Mom did know what was best for me,” said Demello. “I know he is with God, but the hole in my life he leaves will never go away.”
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