She lies in her hospital bed gasping for breath but is determined to share her deadly serious message: don’t ever take the luxury of breathing for granted. And whatever you do, wear a mask.
Sara Toya (43), a mother of three from Texas, took to Facebook on 5 July to share her harrowing story, hooked up to oxygen and speaking with difficulty.
“Never in my life did I ever think that I would be fighting for my breath, something that we take for granted every day,” Sara says in the video, which has had more than 5 million views.
“Please do not put your families at risk. I did the best that I thought I could. It is not worth it. Put your masks on. Don’t go out if you don’t have to.
“I have fought too hard to have the life that I have now and I refuse to give up. I miss my kids. I miss my husband. With the grace of God I will be walking out of this hospital. I don’t know when, but I will.”
In June, Sara went to
her local hospital after developing what she thought was a simple sinus issue, People
reports. A doctor diagnosed an upper respiratory infection and sent her home.
Her condition worsened and she went to a Covid-19 testing site after she started experiencing “unbearable fevers”.
She tested positive and was admitted to hospital on 1 July. Five days after she was admitted, she sent out the video to the world – but tragically, she never did get to walk out of the hospital.
After 44 days on oxygen, Sara had to be intubated. Her daughter, Jessica Chavez, recalls the last conversation she had with her mom before she was hooked up to a ventilator.
“I broke down and she said, ‘No llores mi nina’ [no more tears my girl],” she tells Today. “Those were the last words I heard from my mother.”
After being on a ventilator for a week, doctors discovered Sara had methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a superbug that was raging through her body.
“We were able to Zoom her,” Jessica says. “It was one of the hardest things to see my mother with all these tubes coming from her mouth and chest.
“There were times her face was so swollen her eyes were tightly shut.”
Sara passed away on 13
August, leaving her family devastated.
“She was so young,” Jessica (24) says. “She had a long life ahead of her. Her first grandson is on the way, due in November.”
She’s grateful and proud that her mom sent out her message to the world. “It’s been viewed millions of times and I’m glad people realise this virus is real.
“I really thought she'd be coming home with an oxygen machine. My family needed her. I just want everyone to take the virus seriously.”