PALMDALE, Calif. (CNS) – A Palmdale mother of six who tested positive for COVID-19 died Monday, and her children have all tested positive for the virus, prompting relatives to ask for donations to help cover the family’s expenses.
Brenda Martinez, 43, was hospitalized for a week and in critical condition for three days, her sister-in-law Crystal Acosta Torres told City News Service on Monday afternoon. Acosta Torres later published an update on an online fundraiser that Martinez had died at 9:30 p.m.
Family members said Martinez, who has underlying health conditions, tested positive for COVID-19 and was initially isolating at home before she had trouble breathing and went to a hospital.
With the mother unable to care for her six children — ages 2 to 19 years old — Acosta Torres said she set up the fundraiser on behalf of her oldest nephew, Juan Jose “JJ” Martinez, so that the teenager can cover basic expenses for the younger siblings he’s caring for at home.
All six children, including JJ Martinez, have tested positive for the virus and are in isolation, with some experiencing minor symptoms, their aunt said. All have been unable to visit their nonresponsive mother in the hospital, although they were able to see her on a videoconference call.
The siblings, whose father is unable to help, need financial support for basic necessities, their aunt said.
“They need to pay their rent for this month and their bills for food and stuff. It’s for the kids because they don’t have anyone,” Acosta Torres said, noting that she and other family members have been dropping off supplies to the family’s home and trying to help however they can.
Since setting up the fundraising page, more than $19,000 of a $150,000 goal has been gifted to the family from various donors, and the sister-in-law said her nephew has been grateful for what’s come in so far.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone. My nephew is grateful because this is a lot while he’s making these decisions for his mom and taking care of his siblings while she continues to fight for her life,” Acosta Torres said. “It’s hard for the family, and we want to thank everyone for helping where they can. Our family truly appreciates everyone who has donated for my nieces and nephews. Thank you to everyone who has shared our post and thank you for all your prayers. Our family definitely feels the love and support.”