A South Florida mother has a message to those who aren't taking the coronavirus crisis seriously – as for her family, social distancing could mean the difference between life and death.
Jessica Marra is speaking out and putting a face to the pandemic - her daughter, Charlotte.
Charlotte is two years old and loves being outside, playing with other kids and reading. Jessica says her story is part of what's gotten her to where she is today.
“She is functioning right now with half a heart and obviously because of that that has an impact on all the other parts of her body,” Marra said via Skype. “It has an impact on how she breathes, how her lungs function, so it goes without saying that a virus like Covid-19 is very, very dangerous.”
While still in utero, Charlotte was diagnosed with a severe hypoclastic left heart syndrome.
“We are in Broward County…one of the leading counties right now (for coronavirus) so it’s very scary for us and what we’ve been trying to do,” Marra said, adding she was doing the interview via Skype out of concern over Charlotte’s health. “It’s very easy for people to say ‘oh, it will only affect this percentage of the population and it only will affect the elderly.’ Your ‘only’ is my everything and that’s what I feel people need to understand.”
As we enter another week of hunkering down, social distancing and being creative in keeping our kids entertained, the cabin fever might tempt you to want to venture out. But remember the sweet, curious and feisty two-year-old who's making strides every single day.
“If I can reach one person out there that doesn’t have that mentality by showing them Charlotte’s face by telling them our story and making sure they understand how significant this is for everybody in the world, then at least that would have done something,” Jessica said.
Jessica and her husband Marc started a non-profit called Heart Warriors Inc., working with Nicklaus Children's Hospital to raise awareness and funds for research for congenital heart defects – something on hold now due to coronavirus.