SALEM, Mass. — A Salem father and young daughter are both in intensive care battling COVID-19, while the pregnant mother and older daughter have also tested positive. Mike DeCelle, 39, and Mikayla DeCelle, 12, are both intubated at Massachusetts General Hospital as they struggle to breathe on their own.
Mike is sedated and fighting for his life. Mikayla, who has asthma, turned 12 in the pediatric ICU Sunday.
“This is the last thing I would’ve expected for them,” said older sister Kylie, 14. “But they’re both really strong, and I feel like they’ll make it out of this.”
Kylie and her mom Erica experienced only mild symptoms. Erica, who is due with a baby boy in February, is staying by Mikayla’s bedside.
“It’s really scary,” Kylie said. “The only person I have from my household is my dog. And it’s just really hard.”
Kylie is quarantining with her aunt and her aunt’s fiancé, Zack Venezia, as they, too, have tested positive for the virus. They are all vaccinated, as is Erica. But Mike and Mikayla are not.
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“We all tested positive. It started with just like the mild symptoms, and then like over the course of like two days, my dad and sister got really sick,” Kylie said. “And it got to the point where they weren’t eating or drinking or anything. So, they both had to go to the hospital.”
Ryan LeMay, who used to work for Mike’s towing company and considers him a brother, created a GoFundMe account for the family with his wife, Ashley LeMay. They hope to cover the DeCelles’ medical expenses and bills that accrue while Mike is out of work.
“It’s just a small business, and he’s a one-man show,” LeMay said of Mike’s company. “And when he makes it home, he’s going to be out of work for a while.”
LeMay said Mike is known to help out others but never asks for anything in return.
“He’s that type of guy,” LeMay said. “[He’d] rather help somebody than get help from somebody.”
By Monday night, the GoFundMe had raised more than $14,000 within two days.
“It’s amazing, honestly, how fast people jump to come help us,” Kylie said. “And I’ve been receiving so much support from all my friends and stuff. And it’s really helping me get through all of this right now. And we’re beyond grateful for everyone.”
Kylie believes the vaccine protected her from serious illness and urges others to consider getting it.
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“Please get vaccinated, because anyone can get COVID,” Kylie said. “It’s not something out of the ordinary. And this can happen to anyone. It’s really tragic.”
“Keep thinking about [Mike and Mikayla], and just hope that they pull through,” Venezia added. “And take the proper safety precautions for COVID and get the vaccine.”
To donate to the DeCelles’ GoFundMe account, click here.
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