PAYSON, Ariz. — A mother in Payson is mourning the loss of her 12-year-old daughter after a rare disorder, caused by COVID-19, claimed her life.
Elizabeth English died less than a week after coming home from school not feeling well.
A healthy 12-year-old girl
"She did gymnastics and student government," said Carrie English, Elizabeth's mom. "She was very beautiful."
Elizabeth was a healthy 12-year-old girl, but her mom recalls one day in early December when she came home from school with a low-grade fever and a rash on her arm.
Three days later, she was in the hospital.
After testing negative for COVID-19 three times, doctors investigated further.
Initially a mystery illness
"They did a spinal tap, thinking maybe it was spinal meningitis,” Carrie said. “They did a chest X-rays, thinking it was pneumonia."
Elizabeth was transferred from Payson to Phoenix Children's Hospital.
“We kept telling her 'You can do it. You can do this,” she said. “At one point she said, 'Mommy, I can't do this.' We were only there for two days before she passed away."
Doctors diagnose Elizabeth with MIS-C
Elizabeth’s family later learned she had the antibodies for COVID-19 and died from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, also known as MIS-C.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.
Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including gut pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired.
The CDC said it does not yet know what causes MIS-C, but many children with it had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19.
There are only 1,659 known cases of MIS-C nationwide as of Jan. 8.
On a mission to raise awareness
Carrie is sharing her devastating story to raise awareness about the disorder.
It affects a person's vital organs weeks after having COVID-19, causing them to fail.
"That is the most important thing, is to get the knowledge out there,” said Carrie.
“The doctors are overworked, they're overrun, they're tired... so the more of us that can help them is just going to be to our benefit."
Carrie says Elizabeth was kind and always helping other kids. She still is.
"Her light is still shining and spreading a message to people of another realm," Carrie said.
Since Lizzie's passing her friends and family have started the hashtag #LoveLikeLizzy to help everyone stay positive during this time of trials and tribulations.