Last month, a mom of six children died due to complications from COVID-19. She was nursing her five-month-old baby at the time, right up until the very end. And now her family is hoping to fulfill her wish—feeding him breastmilk until his first birthday.
Megan Richards of Oak Grove, Missouri, her husband, and all six of their children contracted COVID in November. Her husband, Michael, says everyone had “mild” symptoms, though Myles had to be treated at the hospital for dehydration.
Megan, who was not vaccinated against COVID, experienced worsening symptoms and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance on Nov. 14. After being treated for dehydration and pneumonia, she died one day after arriving at the hospital after fluid built up around her heart.
“It was one of the things that she wanted the most for the baby, and it was important to her, so it was important to me,” he tells ABC News. “Even when she got sick and I was trying to keep her in bed, and just try to get her to rest, I talked to her about it maybe being time to stop pumping — she’d been pumping to be able to feed him with a bottle — and she refused.”
So far, Megan’s family has received about 400 ounces of donated breastmilk and a donated freezer for storing it. Her sister, Brittany Eppenauer, believes they’ll need about 10,000 ounces of breastmilk to reach Myles’ first birthday next summer.
Eppenauer, who is heading up the donation effort, says she’s received hundreds of emails from women who want to help.
“The first donation that we received came from a woman named Megan,” she said. “It’s overwhelming to know that other moms care that much, to make sure that we can fulfill my sister’s wishes.”
Though Megan wasn’t vaccinated, her family now says they are encouraging others to get the vaccine.
“I regret that I didn’t push her to get it,” Michael said.
You can also donate to the family’s GoFundMe here.